In May 2013, the American website Gawker and the Toronto Star reported that they had viewed a cellphone video that showed then-Mayor of Toronto Rob Ford ******* ***** cocaine and commenting on political issues. Gawker raised money to buy the video, but were unable to acquire it when the seller broke off contact. On October 31, 2013, the Toronto Police Service announced that they were in possession of the video, "and at least one other". The video was retrieved in the course of an investigation of drug gangs, entitled "Project Traveller". Ford's associate Alexander "Sandro" Lisi was charged with extortion for attempting to retrieve the video, in exchange for *********.
An image was provided to Gawker and Toronto Star reporters depicting Ford posing with three individuals outside the house where the video was recorded. The individuals standing with Ford were later identified as Anthony Smith, Muhammad Khattak and Monir Kassim, three alleged members of a local gang. The location was later identified as a house on Windsor Road in the Etobicoke area of Toronto. Khattak and Kassim were both arrested in a sweep of an apartment complex near the home in June 2013. Smith was killed in a shooting on the streets of downtown Toronto in March 2013. The home was identified as the residence of a friend of Ford's from his high school days. The home was attacked in a home invasion days after Gawker and the Toronto Star published the video story.Ford initially denied both the existence of the video and using ***** cocaine. Though several members of Toronto City Council, as well as the editorial boards of the Star, the National Post, and the Toronto Sun, called for him to step down, he refused to do so. On November 5, 2013, Ford admitted to ******* ***** cocaine "probably in one of my drunken stupors" and to hiding his drug abuse from his family, his staff and the people of Toronto, but pledged to continue on as Mayor. In a series of votes later that month, Ford was stripped by the City Council of virtually all of his mayoral powers, and then-Deputy Mayor Norm Kelly became de facto Acting Mayor.On April 30, 2014, a second video showing Ford ******* ***** emerged. Ford took a leave of absence to enter drug rehabilitation from May 1 through June 30, 2014, during which time Kelly officially served as Acting Mayor. Ford did not run for re-election in 2014, instead running for, and winning, his former City Council seat; he continued to serve on the City Council until his death from cancer on March 22, 2016. In August 2016, the Toronto Police Service released the original video of Ford ******* *****, and the remaining charges against Lisi were dropped.
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