Toronto mayor Rob Ford awoke yesterday to the most serious allegations against him yet, with reports of a crude video which purportedly show him smoking crack cocaine.
Throughout the video, Ford's eyes are half-closed. He lolls back in his chair, sometimes waving his arms around erratically. He raises a lighter in his hand at several points and moves it in a circle motion beneath the glass bowl of the pipe, then inhales deeply, the Toronto Star newspaper reported, saying that two of its reporters had viewed the video three times.
At the end of the clip, the cellphone used to make the video rings. Ford appears startled, according to one of the reporters. He looks directly into the camera and says: "That thing better not be recording."
The video has apparently been shopped around to several media outlets by a group of men in the city, one of whom claims to have supplied Ford with the drug.
Emerging from his house yesterday, Ford called the claims ridiculous but refused to elaborate.
His lawyer said the reports about Ford smoking crack were false and defamatory. "I think unless one has expertise in crack cocaine smoking it is very difficult to gauge what a person is actually doing in an alleged video," Dennis Morris said.
Controversy has followed Ford, who was elected mayor in 2010. While campaigning for the city's top job, reports emerged of an arrest in 1999 for drunk driving and marijuana possession in Miami.