A massive police investigation that resulted in drug trafficking charges against a close friend of Toronto Mayor Rob Ford was launched after a U.S. gossip website reported that Ford was caught on video smoking from a crack pipe.
Media lawyer Peter Jacobsen told CP24 that documents released Thursday morning confirm the massive investigation was prompted by those allegations and that Ford himself was the original focus.
Information obtained by various media groups include photographs that show Ford and Lisi meeting in public places and what Jacobsen referred to as "very suspicious activity."
Jacobsen said that on several occasions, police observed Ford and Lisi meeting in secret, passing packages between cars and, at least once, meeting at a gas station without acknowledging that they knew one another.
"All of this really cries out for an explanation from the mayor," Jacobsen told CP24.
Toronto Police Chief Bill Blair is scheduled to speak publicly on the issue at 11:30 a.m. He has previously declined to confirm or deny whether police were investigating Ford.
Lisi has been charged with the possession and trafficking of marijuana. The documents released on Thursday also appear to suggest police believed Lisi would help Ford score drugs by driving him to various hot spots.
CTV Toronto’s Natalie Johnson also reports that Lisi would frequently take “counter-surveillance” measures to try and ensure he was not being followed.
Court docs state that Ford friend Sandro Lisi took continuous "counter-surveillance" measures to try and ensure he was not being followed
— Natalie Johnson (@NatalieCTV) October 31, 2013
The files released on Thursday pertain to Project Brazen 2, an investigation spun from a massive drug bust, which resulted in the drug trafficking arrest of Lisi. Lisi is Ford's longtime friend and occasional driver, who has been described by the mayor as a "good guy." He is alleged to have been involved in a violent search for a copy of a video that the Star and Gawker claim shows Ford smoking from what appears to be a crack pipe.
"On many occasions they followed him to meetings with Ford in parks. Detectives searched the area after and found empty vodka bottles." — Jonathan Goldsbie (@goldsbie) October 31, 2013
As Jacobsen points out, the details contained within the documents have not resulted in any charges against Ford and may be easily explainable. But they do deserve an explaination from the mayor. So far, Ford is not scheduled to speak publicly on the matter.
But Toronto Police Chief Bill Blair is expected to address Project Brazen 2 later today.