Video surfaces allegedly showing Toronto mayor doing drugs: report

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TORONTO - A published report says a video that appears to show Toronto mayor Rob Ford smoking crack cocaine is being shopped around by a group of men allegedly involved in the drug trade.

The Toronto Star said, however, it had no way to verify the video, which was the subject of a report on the U.S. online news site Gawker on Thursday and then became the subject of numerous stories.

The Star said two of its reporters watched the video and said it appears to show Ford in a room, sitting in a chair, inhaling from what appears to be a glass crack pipe.

A story on the Star website Friday also alleges Ford makes several disparaging and crude remarks about Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau and the high school football team he coaches.

A lawyer retained by Ford, Dennis Morris, told the newspaper that Thursday’s publication by the Gawker website of some details related to the video was “false and defamatory.”

The newspaper said it attempted to contact Ford’s chief of staff, Mark Twohey, on Thursday night to comment on the story, but he abruptly hung up when he was called.

The Star said the two reporters watched the 90-second video three times on May 3, adding it did not pay any money for the video and did not obtain a copy.

The newspaper added that it had no way to verify the video, which its reporters viewed in the back of a car parked in an apartment complex in northwest Toronto.

Morris told the newspaper that by viewing a video it is impossible to tell what a person is doing.

The Star reported that the man who approached the newspaper said two associates wanted “six figures for the video.”

At another point he said they had originally wanted $1 million, but he had convinced them to lower the price.

On the Gawker website, John Cook writes he was unable to pay the amount the video’s owners were seeking, so he began trying to find a media partner to buy the tape.

Cook said he contacted an acquaintance at CNN and he was soon informed that CNN called Ford's office asking about the tape. Cook said with word out around Toronto that the tape allegedly exists, he decided to publish a story online.

Organizations: Gawker, The Star, CNN

Geographic location: Toronto, U.S.

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