OTTAWA, Canada – The mayor of Canada’s largest city, Toronto, admitted Tuesday, November 5, that he once smoked crack, months after a video allegedly showing him taking the drug surfaced, sparking calls for his resignation.
Rob Ford, 44, however denied he was an addict, in comments that marked a stunning turnaround following months of steadfast denials of the explosive drug allegations.
“Yes, I have smoked crack cocaine,” Ford told reporters outside his office.
“Am I an addict? No. Have I tried it? Probably in one of my drunken stupors,” he added.
Ford said he believed the incident happened “about a year ago,” but admitted: “I don’t know exactly.”
The 90-second clip at the center of the scandal has caused an uproar since its existence was first reported in May.
The daily Toronto Star and American gossip website Gawker said they had seen the footage, which reportedly showed a man resembling Ford lolling back in a chair in a room, inhaling from what appeared to be a glass crack pipe.
But after Gawker raised more than $200,000 in an online campaign to buy the video, it said it was told by its unnamed source that the video was “gone.”
Last Thursday, Toronto police chief Bill Blair said technicians had salvaged the deleted video and other data from a hard drive seized in an investigation of the mayor’s longtime friend Alexander Lisi for extortion, related to Lisi’s attempts to recover the video.
Ford has since apologized for “mistakes” but had until Tuesday steadfastly denied the drug allegations, rebuffed calls for his resignation, and vowed to run for re-election next year.
He and his lawyer meanwhile have called on police to release the video, but Blair declined, saying it was evidence in a criminal case now before the courts. – Rappler.com