TORONTO – Rob Ford is considering his options, including going into rehab, his lawyer said Friday amid mounting pressure on the embattled Toronto mayor to step aside and seek help or resign.
However, Dennis Morris said it was up to Ford to say himself what he planned to do.
“It’s best we hear from his lips,” Morris told the Associated Press.
“When you go left, he goes right.”
So far, Ford, 44, has refused to step down or take time off to seek treatment.
In Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ont., Premier Kathleen Wynne on Friday said she was watching the situation “very closely.”
“It’s extremely important to me that the city of Toronto council be able to function, and that’s what we’re paying close attention to,” Wynne said.
“The deputy mayor is very convinced that city council can function (so) we need to let that roll out.”
At the same time, Wynne urged Ford to do what’s best for him and his family.
“As a human being, as a mother, as a sister, I hope that the mayor is listening to the people around him, who love him, who care about him, and that he is taking their advice.”
Coun. Denzil Minnan-Wong, a member of Ford’s executive committee, has said he would ask council to petition the province to oust the mayor if he doesn’t take a leave of absence.
Also Friday, the mayor lost his radio pulpit with an announcement by NewsTalk 1010 that he and his brother would no longer host their weekly show.
“NewsTalk 1010, Mayor Ford and Coun. Ford have mutually determined to conclude broadcasts of ‘The City,’ ending with last week’s show,” the station said in a statement.
It was during the show last Sunday that Ford apologized for making a drunken spectacle of himself in public, but he did not address allegations of drug use.
That changed in a stunning confession Tuesday that he smoked crack in a “drunken stupor” about a year ago. Police said they have a video of him appearing to show him smoking crack.
On Thursday, a new video surfaced showing Ford spewing profanities and threatening to murder someone.
Ford apologized, saying he was extremely inebriated and embarrassed, but refused to identify the target of, or reason for, his rage.
Morris called Thursday a defining day for the mayor.
As pressure continues to mount on him to step aside or resign, there’s more potential fuel that could be added to the scandal.
A lawyer for a man seen in a photo of Ford posing with three men, including two alleged gang members, was in court Friday seeking copies of two videos seized by police.
Mohammad Khattak’s lawyer, Daniel Brown, argued the video files were “relevant disclosure” that may help his client defend himself on the charges linked to raids of suspected gun and drug traffickers.
He told court he wasn’t looking to publish the video, but simply wanted to view it.
Brown also said a published photograph of his client and others with the mayor was “inextricably linked” to the Ford video police said they seized.
The Crown lawyer countered that she had viewed the video and it was “irrelevant” to Khattak’s case.
The laptop on which the video was found was seized from someone other than Khattak, she noted.
Next week, an Ontario judge is expected to decide whether remaining parts of a document that revealed Ford’s ties and covert meetings with an alleged drug dealer can be released.
Ford’s strongest backer, his brother Coun. Doug Ford, said on Friday his brother needs to take a break.
“If Rob goes on a little vacation, a week or two weeks, comes back, Rob loses 50, 60 pounds, stays on the straight and narrow because he’s a good, good man and he’s an honest man, it would tough to beat Rob Ford,” the councillor told AM640.
“They seriously underestimate him all the time.”
With a file from Keith Leslie.
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