Toronto Mayor Rob Ford reads a statement to the media at City Hall on Friday, May 24, 2013 in Toronto. Ford denied that he smokes crack cocaine and says he is not an addict after a video purported to show him using the drug. Ford did not say whether he has ever used the drug. (AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Chris Young)
by Rob Gillies
TORONTO (AP) – Toronto Mayor Rob Ford denied that he smokes crack cocaine and said he is not an addict, breaking a week of silence over reports of a video purportedly showing him using the drug. Critics were not appeased, with one city councilor questioning whether the mayor told “the whole truth” and another calling on him to resign.
The controversy has drawn comparisons to the 1990 arrest of then-Washington Mayor Marion Barry, who was videotaped smoking crack cocaine in a hotel room during an FBI sting operation. Barry served six months in federal prison on a misdemeanor drug possession conviction and later won a fourth term as mayor in 1994.
The mayor of Canada’s largest city did not say whether he has ever used crack. He did not take questions from reporters at a news conference at City Hall, held after close allies released a letter urging him to address the reports of the video.
“I do not use crack cocaine, nor am I an addict of crack cocaine,” Ford said. “As for a video, I cannot comment on a video that I have never seen, or does not exist.”
Ford had been ducking the media and his only comments before Friday on the scandal came a week ago, a day after the story broke, when he called the crack smoking allegations “ridiculous” and said the Toronto Star newspaper was out to get him.
Ford said he had kept quiet because his lawyer advised him “not to say a word.”
The video has not been released publicly and its authenticity has not been verified. Reports on gossip website Gawker and in the Toronto Star claimed it was taken by men who said they had sold the drug to Ford. The Associated Press hasn’t seen the video.