, MONTREAL, May 25 – Toronto’s embattled Mayor Rob Ford denied on Friday that he uses crack cocaine, despite allegations he was seen on a video smoking the drug.
“I do not use crack cocaine, nor am I an addict of crack cocaine,” Ford told reporters after more than a week of silence.
“As for a video, I cannot comment on a video that I have never seen or does not exist.”
The mayor of Canada’s biggest city lashed out at the media for judging him “without any evidence.”
Ford, 43, explained that it was on his lawyer’s advice that he kept silent for a week, without responding to allegations that first surfaced in the Toronto Star.
“This past week has not been an easy one. And it’s taken a great toll on my family and my friends and the great people of Toronto,” he said, thanking those who supported him.
City leaders had earlier urged Ford to speak publicly, amid fears his long silence could be construed as an implicit admission of guilt.
The Star said it had been approached by drug dealers looking to sell the video, saying it was shot using a cellphone by a person who claimed to have supplied Ford with the illegal drug.
The paper said it viewed the 90-second video but declined to pay for it.
US online news and gossip site Gawker also reported that it had seen the footage that reportedly shows a man resembling Ford lolling back in a chair in a room, inhaling from what is believed to be a glass crack pipe.
Throughout the video, the subject’s eyes are half-closed, and he sometimes waves his arms erratically. He raises a lighter several times and moves it in a circling motion beneath the bowl of the pipe, then inhales deeply.