Rob Ford Scandal: Toronto Mayor Insists He's No 'Gangbanger'
The embattled politician admitted to buying illicit drugs while in office, as the city council voted for him to take a leave of absence.
HALIFAX -- "I'm not part of gangbangers," besieged Toronto mayor Rob Ford told a city council debate on his future, carried live on 24-hour cable news channels on Wednesday.
The denial came as the latest court documents released to the media indicate key aides to Ford told police investigators of concerns about alleged drug and alcohol use by the mayor, and having witnessed what they believed to be an escort in his office during an after-hours party.
Ford earlier in the day conceded under questioning that he has bought illicit drugs in the last two years while in office, but he denied any ties to drug dealers or gangs.
The admission came as he was asked about a photo released in May 2013 by the U.S. gossip website Gawker in which he appears outside a Toronto crack house with three individuals.
One of the men, Anthony Smith, was later gunned down outside a Toronto nightclub.
"That was a one-off picture. I had never met those three men in my life. They asked me to take a picture with them and that's the honest truth. I have never met those people; they're in court now," Ford said.
Additional court documents released to the media Wednesday indicate key Ford aides at city hall told police investigators that they were concerned about drug and alcohol use by the mayor, including use of Oxycontin, and added they were wary about driving in his car while he was behind the wheel.
The court documents revealed evidence collected by the police associated with an investigation into Alessandro "Sandro" Lisi, a friend and part-time driver for Ford who has been charged with extortion.
None of the allegations contained in the documents have been proven in court.
But they come as the Canadian and foreign media continue to be transfixed by fruitless attempts by rival politicians to unseat the Toronto mayor, or force him to take a leave of absence and enter rehab.