Gawker's John Cook was contacted by a tipster who offered to sell him a video of Toronto mayor Rob Ford smoking crack for more than $40K. As proof, the tipster provided a photo of Ford posing with Anthony Smith, recently murdered in a gang-style shooting. The tipster claimed that Ford buys his crack from a dealer who services many of Toronto's elite, including "Ford's longtime friend, people on his staff, his brother, a prominent hockey analyst, and more."
Gawker didn't want to spend the $40K to get the video, though they did send Cook to Toronto, and he claims to have seen it. A CNN source tipped off the Ford people that the video is in circulation, and there the story stands:
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. A slurred voice off-camera is ranting about Canadian politics in what sounds like an attempt to goad Ford. "Pierre Trudeau was a faggot!" is the one phrase the lodges in my mind. Ford, pipe in one hand and lighter in the other, is laughing, and mildly protesting at the sacrilege. He seems to keep trying to light the pipe, but keeps stopping to laugh. He is red-faced and sweaty, heaving with each breath. Finally, he finds his moment and lights up. He inhales.
In one move, the owner stops the video and draws the device back into his pocket.
"You took this?" I ask.
"Within the last six months."
"You're sure it's crack?"
"You've seen him smoke crack before?"
"Yes. Gotta jet."
And he is gone.
Cook reports that someone with a Hotmail account identifying himself as Dennis Morris and claiming to be Ford's lawyer sent him an email threatening to sue him if he publishes. I'd be interested in knowing whether "Dennis Morris" is registered with the Law Society of Upper Canada, but they don't appear to have an online registry.
Rob Ford is one of the worst politicians in Canadian history (really saying something). My nickname for him is Mayor Laughable Bumblefuck. He's weathered some severe scandals during his tenure in office, but I think that this one would be terminal, and may even take down his brother, Councillor Doug Ford, a guy widely held to be the brains in the outfit.
For Sale: A Video of Toronto Mayor Rob Ford Smoking Crack Cocaine [John Cook/Gawker]
Update: dsac86 says in the comments: "The Law Society of Upper Canada has an online directory, and there is a Dennis Morris registered [http://www1.lsuc.on.ca/LawyerP...]. Dennis Morris has also represented Ford on a couple of other legal matters."
(Thanks to the dozens of people who suggested this, emailed/tweeted about it, left me voicemails, and shouted it to the heavens)