Canada's Globe and Mail newspaper is reporting that it has seen two videos of Toronto mayor Rob Ford smoking what appears to be crack cocaine, as Ford took a temporary leave of absence to deal with substance abuse.
The national newspaper said on Wednesday night that two of its reporters had seen a video showing Ford, who is seeking re-election, smoking from a pipe.
"...The mayor rapidly shifts his weight back and forth on the spot, talking into his cellphone and his right arm swinging at his side. When the camera pans around the room, a man that looks like Alessandro “Sandro” Lisi, the mayor’s former driver and an accused drug-dealing extortionist, can be seen in the background.
"Mr. Ford’s sister, Kathy, who has admitted in media interviews to being a drug addict, is sitting in front of her brother. In the last of three clips, Mr. Ford is holding the pipe and speaking to his sister," the Globe and Mail reported.
Publication of the story coincided with an announcement that the controversial politician was taking a leave of absence to seek help for substance abuse.
According to the Globe and Mail, Ford's lawyer Dennis Morris said: “He said he feels it’s time that he takes a break and addresses the substance abuse problems he has, and he didn’t tell me what he has."
Morris was unsure how long Ford was planning to be away for or when he came to his decision. News agencies were unable to obtain a response to the Globe and Mail report.
Ford has been dogged by allegations of drug abuse since last May, when reports emerged of a video puportedly showing him smoking crack cocaine. But the video was never released to the public.
He eventually admitted to having smoked crack cocaine once, "in a drunken stupor," but refused to step down or seek professional help, claiming he was not an addict.