Chief Bill Blair confirms that the video once viewed by Gawker and the Toronto Star is in the hands of Toronto police.
In response to this morning’s release of documents related to the arrest of Sandro Lisi, Rob Ford’s friend and occasional driver, Police Chief Bill Blair held a press conference to begin to address some media questions. Among those questions: Was Lisi providing drugs to Rob Ford, and was Lisi attempting to retrieve a video allegedly showing Rob Ford smoking crack cocaine.
Though he would not reply to many queries, Blair did say the following:
On October 29—on Tuesday of this week—we received information from our computer technology section that in the examination of a hard drive that had been seized on June 13, they were able to identify a number of files that had been deleted, and that they were able to recover those files. As a result, I have been advised that we are now in possession of a recovered digital video file relevant to the investigations that have been conducted. That file contains video images which appear to be those images that were previously reported in the press with respect to events that took place, we believe, at a house on Windsor Road in Etobicoke.
That information has been turned over to our investigators…who have taken that video evidence into consideration, and as a result of their investigations and evidence that they have gathered, they have this morning taken into custody a Mr. Sandro Lisi and laid a charge of extortion with respect to the evidence that has been collected.
Blair went on to say that Lisi was expected in court later today, and that all the evidence related to the charge would end up being presented in court, but that he was not releasing the video immediately. (A news release issued by the Toronto Police Service a short time later advised that “It is alleged that the accused made extortive efforts to retrieve a recording” and that he “is scheduled to appear in court at Old City Hall, on a date/time not yet determined.”) Blair confirmed that he had seen the video, and that there was “no indication” that it had been doctored. A reporter asked if he was shocked at what he saw, to which Blair replied: “As a citizen of Toronto, I’m disappointed.” No search warrant, he said, has been issued for Rob Ford’s house.
The full press conference is embedded above; Blair’s remarks begin at 5:10.