03/25/2015 06:31 EDT | Updated 05/25/2015 05:59 EDT

Sandro Lisi, Rob Ford's former driver, pleads not guilty to drug charges

Sandro Lisi, Rob Ford's friend and occasional driver, pleaded not guilty to three drug charges as his trial got underway on Wednesday.

Alexander (Sandro) Lisi, whose lawyer said was too sick to attend a shortened court appearance on Tuesday, is accused of three charges, including possessing and trafficking marijuana. These charges are separate from the extortion charges Lisi also faces, which stem from his alleged attempts to recover a video of Ford smoking crack cocaine.

Jamshid Bahrami, who operates a dry cleaning operation in Etobicoke, is on trial alongside Lisi. He also pleaded not guilty Wednesday to several drug charges including possession of cocaine.

The CBC's Stephanie Matteis, who is covering the trial, tweeted that court first heard from Ross Fernandes, a former undercover police officer.

The Crown, which withdrew one of four counts against Lisi at Tuesday's shortened hearing, is expected to continue laying out evidence on Wednesday. The Crown has also suggested it might drop another charge — possession of marijuana.

Police charged Lisi and co-accused Jamshid Bahrami in October 2013 as they investigated a video showing Ford apparently smoking crack cocaine.