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Police have video of Toronto mayor allegedly smoking crack

Toronto Mayor Rob Ford. (CC/Shaun Merritt)
Toronto Mayor Rob Ford. (CC/Shaun Merritt)

TORONTO, Oct. 31 (UPI) -- Toronto police said Thursday they have video of Mayor Robert Ford allegedly smoking crack and have arrested a friend of Ford's on extortion charges.

Police Chief Bill Blair announced the finding and released documents showing Ford and Alexander Sandro Lisi frequently met in out-of-the-way places where they sometimes exchanged packages.

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Afterward, Ford told reporters at City Hall there is no reason for him to resign, the Toronto Star reported.

"I wish I could come out and defend myself," Ford said. "Unfortunately I can't, because it's before the courts."

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Ford has consistently denied smoking crack ever since questions arose after the newspaper reported on the existence of video evidence seen by its reporters.

Blair announced Thursday forensic investigators were able to recover video files that had been deleted from a computer hard drive Tuesday.

"It's safe to say the mayor does appear in the video," Blair told reporters Thursday.

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"We have recovered a digital video file which is consistent with that which has previously been described in various media reports," he said.

However, Blair said, the evidence does not support bringing criminal charges against Ford.

"I'm disappointed. I know that this is a traumatic issue for the citizens of this city and for the reputation of this city and that concerns me."

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The Star said a document released with the video describes frequent meetings between Ford and Lisi near Dumpsters or on vacant parking lots at night -- as well as about 400 telephone calls between the two, and a flurry of calls May 16, 2013, as the Star and the Gawker website were first reporting on the video showing Ford smoking crack. The content of the calls was not reported.

Lisi, 35, was arrested Thursday.

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