- The Washington Times - Friday, November 1, 2013

Toronto’s Mayor Rob Ford came out swinging Thursday, bluntly telling his voters that even though police say they have a video that might show him smoking crack cocaine, he’s not leaving office.

“I think everyone’s seen the allegations against me today,” Mr. Ford said, in a brief statement shortly after police dropped the bombshell, CBC News reported. But until the courts take up the matter, “that’s all I can say right now.”

He also said he had no reason to resign from office, CBC News reported.

“I wish I could come out and defend myself. Unfortunately, I can’t because it’s before the courts,” he said outside his office on Thursday, CBC News said.

His announcement is a bold move given the recent Toronto police findings.

The video was reportedly seen by two journalists who swore it contained images of the mayor smoking from a glass crack pipe. Mr. Ford denied the crack claim — and denied the video even existed. But law enforcement subsequently obtained the video and were able to extract at least one image that included the mayor, and that was described this week by Toronto Police Chief Bill Blair as “disappointing,” as it contained pictures that were consistent with prior media reports.

Police didn’t confirm that Mr. Ford was actually seen on the tape smoking crack, however, and the mayor has yet to be charged with a crime.

Meanwhile, city officials say they can’t force the mayor from office, at least without a conviction.

“The only option before the city is for the mayor to step aside,” said one council member, Jaye Robinson, in CBC News.

The story hearkens back to a time when Washington, D.C., Mayor Marion Barry faced a similar crack cocaine video scandal.

In early 1990, Mr. Barry was captured on videotape by undercover FBI agents smoking crack cocaine in a hotel room with a female. He was arrested and ultimately served six months in federal prison. He made a rapid political comeback, however, and went on to serve another term as mayor, from 1995 to 1999, and also as a member of the city council.

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