NEWS

New calls for Rob Ford to step aside, provide answers

10/31/2013 02:40 EDT | Updated 01/23/2014 06:58 EST
Mayor Rob Ford is under renewed pressure from councillors to step down and provide answers to questions after Toronto police revealed they had obtained a video of the mayor from evidence seized in drug raids earlier this year.

Toronto police Chief Bill Blair told reporters during a Thursday morning press conference that investigators had obtained a digital video file in which the mayor appeared and which the media had reported on.

While Blair did not say what the video showed, the police chief said the images contained in the file "appear to be those images which were previously reported in the press with respect to events that took place, we believe, at a house on Windsor Road in Etobicoke."

The Toronto Star and the website Gawker reported earlier this year that someone had been shopping a video that allegedly showed the mayor using crack cocaine. Ford denied the video’s existence and also denied using crack cocaine.

In the wake of Blair’s news conference, which came alongside new revelations about the police investigation into Alexander "Sandro" Lisi — a friend of Ford’s who is now charged with extortion — city councillors say the mayor has questions to answer.

Coun. Gloria Lindsay Luby said the mayor needed to apologize to the city and should also take a leave of absence.

“I think he should step aside until he clears his name, absolutely, and I don’t know how long that will be, but it’s going to be in the courts,” she told reporters Thursday, following the police chief’s remarks at a morning news conference.

Ahead of the news conference, Coun. Shelley Carroll also said that Ford should step down.

"It's time for him really to take a leave," she said, noting that the media scrutiny Ford is facing is not about to die down.

When Ford later spoke briefly with reporters on Thursday afternoon, the mayor said he was not in a position to comment on matters before the courts.

"I wish I could come out and defend myself. Unfortunately, I can’t because it’s before the courts and that’s all I can say right now."

But he said he would not step down.

"I have no reason to resign," Ford said.

Ford has served as the mayor of Toronto for the past three years.

The 44-year-old previously served as a city councillor for a ward in Etobicoke, a suburb of Toronto.

During his three years in office, Ford has often made headlines both for his work at city hall and his life outside of it.

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