A video of Toronto mayor Rob Ford allegedly smoking crack cocaine is being shopped to media outlets by Somali men involved in the city’s drug trade who are asking a six-figure sum for the video.
The alleged Rob Ford crack video came to light after an article published Thursday on Gawker. Writer John Cook said he was approached by a tipster claiming to possess the video of the conservative mayor smoking crack. The tipster added that Ford buys drugs from a high-profile crew of Toronto drug dealers.
To bolster the claim, the tipster sent a picture allegedly showing Ford hanging out with a group of young black men. One of the, 21-year-old Anthony Smith, would later be killed outside a Toronto nightclub in a gangland-style shooting.
The photo appears blurry and taken in the dark, but Gawker compared it to another photo of Rob Ford from the National Post where he is wearing the same sweatshirt. The two appears to be the same.
Cook flew to Toronto to meet the tipster. Though he and the publication balked at the sum they were asking for it, the tipsters did show it to him.
Cook said the Rob Ford crack video seemed legitimate. He wrote:
“Here is what the video shows: Rob Ford, the mayor of Toronto, is the only person visible in the frame. Prior to the trip, I spent a lot of time looking at photographs of Rob Ford. The man in the video is Rob Ford. It is well-lit, clear. Ford is seated, in a room in a house. In one hand is a a clear, glass pipe. The kind with a big globe and two glass cylinders sticking out of it. In the other hand is a lighter.”
The tipster also showed the Rob Ford video to two Toronto Star reporters. They agreed that video appeared to show Ford sitting in a well-lit room smoking from a glass pipe as he spoke almost incoherently about Canadian politics.
The Star also turned down purchasing the alleged Rob Ford crack cocaine video.
Soon after that a lawyer retained by Ford, Dennis Morris, called Gawker’s report “false and defamatory.” He added that by viewing a video it is impossible to tell what a person is doing.
Both Gawker and the Star noted that there was no way to verify the video.
A representative from the mayor’s office refused to comment on the alleged Rob Ford crack video, hanging up on a reporter who asked about it.