An Ontario judge has released another portion of a police document that includes a police description of the infamous video showing Mayor Rob Ford smoking what appears to be crack cocaine.
Media lawyer Peter Jacobsen read from the document outside a Toronto courthouse after the information was unsealed on Wednesday. It’s related to Project Brazen 2, the Toronto Police investigation into Ford and his occasional driver Alexander Lisi.
“At one point Mayor Ford holds the glass cylinder to his mouth, lights the lighter and applies the flame to the tip of the glass cylinder in a circular motion,” he said. “After several seconds Mayor Ford appears to inhale the vapours which is produced and exhaled the vapours.”
“At the end of the video, Mayor Ford’s attention is drawn towards an illuminated electronic device looks like a cellphone, which briefly passes in front of the recording device,” he said. “Mayor Ford appears to look into the recording device then drops the glass cylinder and lighter onto the table next to him. He briefly points at the camera and asks if it’s on.”
Jacobsen said at one point Ford also says off-camera the name Liban, referring to Liban Siyad, who was the person Lisi allegedly negotiated with for the return of the mayor’s cellphone. He also said in addition to the official police version of what’s in the video, “It’s quite clear [from the document] that this investigation is continuing.”
The mayor, who was attending an executive committee meeting at city hall, didn’t respond to questions about the video, which was one of five videos found on the laptop of alleged gang member, Mohamed Siad, during an earlier police investigation dubbed Project Traveller.
Ford has admitted smoking crack cocaine, likely in one of his “drunken stupors,” but has said he hasn’t seen the video. He has urged police to release it and he has also dared the chief to arrest him.
Police offered Ford — through his lawyer — an opportunity to watch the video, on the condition he not comment on the video or discuss it with anyone, but he declined, police say in the newly released document.
Ford’s lawyer Dennis Morris said Wednesday the police offer was “baloney.”
“We weren’t interested in that. If you want to show the video, show the world,” he told The Canadian Press. “Don’t show it to me and the mayor and say, ‘You can’t discuss it.’ That’s absurd. It makes no sense.”
Morris called the release of the documents a “continued waste” of taxpayers’ money.
“No one could say what’s in the pipe,” he said in an interview.
Morris also said he is convinced police will find a way to release the video anonymously just before the Oct. 27 municipal election, which will determine if Ford gets to stay in the mayor’s office.
Toronto police spokesman Mark Pugash called Morris’ assertions “disgraceful and completely irresponsible.”
“He should be ashamed of himself,” Pugash said. “Any information that has been released has been released by the courts.”
Media lawyer Jacobsen said there’s also another police search warrant document dated March 7 that he wants unsealed.
Project Brazen 2 arose from the force’s year-long Project Traveller probe focusing on organized crime, violence, guns and drugs that resulted in dozens of arrests including Siad who police say was trying to sell the crack video. It investigated Ford and Lisi, who faces extortion and drug trafficking charges.
The court agreed to release search warrants from Jan. 14 and March 14, with some exceptions. Certain paragraphs have been kept private.
Those paragraphs were redacted at the request of lawyers for Lisi. Lisi and a co-accused are facing drug charges.
Media lawyers had argued for access to the search warrant information. Lawyers will be back in court on March 28 to argue for the release of those paragraphs.
The investigation and the seizure of the so-called crack video have also led to a very public feud between the mayor and the police chief.
Ontario provincial police have agreed to assume an oversight role in the investigation at the request of Toronto police chief Bill Blair.
Police documents that were released last year showed Ford and Lisi meeting and contained interviews with former members of the mayor’s staff.
The former staffers alleged the mayor was intoxicated at work, drank while driving and associated with suspected prostitutes.
The allegations contained in the document have not been proven in court.
With files from Erin Criger
Below are locations of homes and apartment highrises that were under police surveillance and raids.