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What’s next in the Rob Ford scandal

Lawyers seek access to crack video while council calls on Ford to take a leave


 

TORONTO – Today could mark the start of another week of twists and turns in Toronto Mayor Rob Ford’s crack cocaine scandal.

A video appearing to show the mayor smoking crack cocaine will be in a Toronto courthouse as a judge considers an application from lawyers for a man seen in a notorious photo with the mayor.

Ford is seen posing in the photo with Anthony Smith, who was later shot and killed, as well as Mohammad Khattak and another man, who have both been charged in Project Traveller, a sweeping drugs and weapons investigation.

Lawyers for Khattak are seeking access to the video, arguing their client’s reputation is being harmed by being associated with it.

Ontario Superior Court Judge Ian Nordheimer ordered the Crown to bring the video to court today, when he is set to make his decision on whether he or the lawyers should view it.

Nordheimer is also expected to rule this week, as early as today, whether remaining parts of a document that shed light on Ford’s relationship with Alexander Lisi, an alleged drug dealer who is also his friend, can be released.

Lisi’s drug case is also set for a likely brief appearance in court today.

The first sections of the Lisi court document that were released earlier this month revealed that police believe Ford’s photo with the three men was taken at a home on Windsor Drive that a confidential informant says is a “crack house.”

Toronto Police Chief Bill Blair, in announcing that police had recovered the so-called crack video, said it is believed to relate to events at that house.

The police document also showed that friends and former staffers of Ford were concerned that Lisi was “fuelling” the mayor’s drug use.

The document details evidence police collected in order to get a search warrant for Lisi. The document contains allegations that have not been proven in court.

Lisi has also been charged with extortion for alleged efforts to get his hands on the video appearing to show the mayor smoking crack.

Police claim he threatened two alleged gang members — Mohamed Siad and Liban Siyad — to try to get the video in the hours and days after the Toronto Star and U.S. website Gawker first reported the video’s existence.

Both Siad and Siyad were arrested as part of Project Traveller. It was that day of those raids that police seized a hard drive on which the video was ultimately found as a deleted file, Blair said.

Lawyers for the media are also expected to argue in the coming weeks that wiretap information from the Project Traveller investigation should be made public.

On Wednesday, a city councillor’s motion is expected to be tabled calling on Ford to take a leave of absence, though it will be non-binding. Coun. Denzil Minnan-Wong has said he will ask council to petition the province to oust Ford if he doesn’t take a leave.

Ford’s public week began at a Remembrance Day ceremony, where a veteran refused to shake his hand.

Ford gave a short speech honouring the military and there was a quiet smattering of boos and cries of “shame” in the crowd as he walked up to the podium, though there was also light applause.

After he laid a wreath at the foot of the cenotaph at Toronto’s Old City, the mayor walked past a row of veterans. One said later he would not shake the mayor’s hand because he’s “a druggie.”


 
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