Murder Now Part of Toronto Mayor Rob Ford's Crack Cocaine Video Scandal
TORONTO – Now a murder investigation is part of the Toronto mayor Rob Ford's widening crack-smoking scandal.
As Gawker reaches its $200,000 fundraising goal to publish a video showing Ford allegedly smoking crack cocaine, media reports point to local homicide detectives quizzing senior Ford aides about a possible link to a murder investigation.
Gawker on Tuesday closed its Crackstarter campaign on Indiegogo after raising $201,254 from 8,388 people to purchase and publish the now-infamous Ford crack cocaine tape.
The rub: Gawker's John Cook on his blog reiterated that the U.S. gossip site "has lost contact with the people who have custody of the video.”
Hollywood couldn’t make this stuff up.
The video, seen by Cook and two reporters from the Toronto Star, is thought to be in the hands of Somalian drug peddlers in Toronto.
“This will be a very delicate transaction. If the people who are in possession of the video are reading this: Please get in touch with our mutual friend, or with me at email@example.com. We did what you asked,” Cook wrote Tuesday in plea to the video's owners.
Gawker isn’t alone in looking to get its hands on the smartphone video.
Toronto police last week interviewed Mark Towhey -- Ford's former chief of staff, fired this past Friday -- after he earlier learned that a key mayoral aide, David Price, apparently knew the whereabouts of the smartphone video and talked openly about attempting to purchase and deep-six the device.
According to the Toronto Star newspaper, Price also told Towhey that the video “may have been the reason that Anthony Smith, a person pictured in a photo with Ford, was killed."
Anthony Smith, a 21-year-old Toronto drug dealer, was pictured in a group hug with Rob Ford in the original May 16 Gawker website posting that broke the crack cocaine-video scandal wide open.
Little was mentioned early on about Smith being gunned down and killed outside a Toronto nightclub on March 28, 2013.
Instead, the Rob Ford saga became fodder for U.S. late-night talk show hosts like Jon Stewart and Jay Leno.
But with Price -- who has also reportedly given the Toronto police a statement -- tipping Towhey off to a possible link to the Anthony Smith murder investigation, speculation in the media Tuesday turned to the slain drug dealer possibly being the owner of the smartphone video in question.
And the media is now questioning whether Smith was murdered over what he possibly knew about the Rob Ford crack tape.
Machinations about the Toronto drug trade also surfaced over the weekend when the Toronto Globe and Mail newspaper published a four-page investigative piece that alleges Doug Ford, brother of Rob Ford and a key Toronto city councilor, was a major trafficker of hashish during the 1980s.
Doug Ford took to the radio and TV airwaves on Sunday to deny the Globe and Mail allegations about past drug dealing.
The Globe and Mail story also alleged that a third brother, Randy Ford, faced an earlier charge associated with a drug-related kidnapping, and that Kathy Ford, a sister, was once the victim of drug-related gun violence committed in the family home.
All of which has the Ford brothers uttering endless denials about drug use and dealing as key aides jump ship and Canadians turn to the Internet for media updates.