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Mayor Rob Ford on radio show: Accusations about tape 'outright lie'

By Ashley Fantz, CNN
updated 12:21 PM EST, Thu December 5, 2013
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Toronto mayor denies trying to buy an incriminating video from criminal suspects
  • Ford is infamous for admitting he smoked crack
  • He is still in office and tells radio hosts that he's confident he'll be re-elected next October

(CNN) -- Toronto Mayor Rob Ford, infamous for admitting he smoked crack and drank too much, called allegations that he tried to buy an incriminating video from criminal suspects "an outright lie" on the Washington-based Sports Junkies talk radio show Thursday morning.

Ford's saga began in May, when allegations emerged that he appeared to be smoking crack cocaine on a pipe on cell phone video taken months earlier, in the winter of 2012.

After initially denying that he smoked the drug, he admitted in November that he did.

On the show, when asked about how he handles all the media attention he's received in the past few months, Ford said he is staying focused on serving his constituents.

Report: Ford tried to buy crack video

"All the other stuff is nonsense," he said.

Ford got testy with the hosts when they asked him about the tape, telling them that they could talk to his lawyers if they wanted to keep asking him questions about controversy.

"I'm here to talk about football," he said.

Ford described what a huge pigskin fan he is. He said that his home is full of football jerseys and regalia, and that he used to play center. He also said he has a football pool in his mayoral office.

Documents: Criminal suspects claimed Ford tried to buy damaging video

The hosts asked him if he is a fan of online poker, and he enthusiastically said he is, and then told the hosts that if they came to Toronto, he would treat them like "kings," and maybe they'd go out for chicken wings.

The hosts asked him what the future holds for him.

The "future is I'm getting re-elected," Ford replied.

The hosts asked if Ford has the support of the people.

"Absolutely," he answered.

Asked who is running against him in the October 27, 2014, election, he said, "I don't know. There's a ton of names out there."

Then he added: "The more the merrier. Let my record speak for itself."

Mayor Rob Ford: A man of contrasts

Allegations about damaging tape

The sports radio interview aired a day after the release of documents that say Ford tried to buy a damaging tape from criminal suspects -- months before a tape was publicized showing him smoking crack.

That's according to documents CNN obtained from Ontario Crown Counsel Arielle Elbaz that are tied to a Canadian investigation into organized crime called Project Traveller. Ford wasn't the focus of this investigation, and he has not been charged with a crime. But, after allegedly interacting with several players who were involved in the probe, he ended up getting ensnared in it.

Ford vows 'outright war' after council strips his powers

The mayor's camp did not return a CNN request for comment.

According to the documents, police translating a March 27 phone conversation, primarily from the Somali language, believed that the men were talking about "receiving an offer from Rob Ford in exchange for a video."

The men discussed an apparent offer of $5,000 and a car in exchange for the video, as well as selling the tape to the Toronto Star newspaper and an unnamed website.

The court documents state: "At the end of the discussion, (one of the men) said he does not want to go to the media but would just see him (believed to be referring to Ford), ... He says he'll ask for 100 or 150" -- possibly referring to $100,000 or $150,000.

These conversations don't delve into specifics about what's on the video. But earlier this year, allegations surfaced in two media outlets that Ford had been recorded last winter using crack cocaine. In May, the Star and the website Gawker published stories saying their reporters saw 90 seconds of a cell phone video showing Ford, as the Star described it, "inhaling from what appears to be a glass crack pipe."

Later in the video -- as described by the Star -- an "incoherent" man both the Star and Gawker claimed was Ford ranted about a number of subjects.

After that report came out, Ford said he had no reason to resign. Yet pressure on him increased earlier this fall when Toronto's police chief announced investigators had recovered a video that purportedly showed Ford smoking from a crack pipe.

The next week, on November 5, Ford admitted that he'd "smoked crack cocaine ... probably in one of my drunken stupors, probably approximately about a year ago." He denied being an addict.

Even after this admission, Ford refused to resign. Instead, he vowed "outright war" on the city council when, later in the month, it slashed the mayor's budget and transferred most of his duties to the deputy mayor.

"If you think American-style politics is nasty, you guys have just attacked Kuwait," Ford said then to groans and laughter in the city council chambers.

The mayor's voice is less apparent in the documents released Wednesday, although he is not necessarily insignificant.

Authorities say that phone intercepts from early on April 20, for instance, indicate one woman telling a man "that Rob Ford is at the residence." Two minutes later, at 12:54 a.m., another man allegedly tells the first "to go to Princess's ... house to deliver drugs to Rob Ford," the court documents say.

Ford on controversial team names

Whenever the Washington, D.C., radio hosts asked Ford about his political life Thursday, he tried to steer the conversation back to sports.

"Mayor, what is your link to the Redskins -- 'cause your people have told us that you actually were a Skins fan or you went to Skins camp?"

Ford said he went to a youth football camp in Pennsylvania for three years that was staffed, at least in part, by Redskins players.

"These guys literally taught us how to play football -- banging on your door at 7 a.m. It was great discipline at a young age, so I went back there three years in a row."

One of the hosts asked him what he thought about opposition to the name Redskins, which some think is offensive to Native Americans.

"Why don't we look at the Cleveland Indians," Ford replied. "What are we gonna call them next, the Cleveland Aboriginals? Like, where do we go with this? It's been around for years and years and years and if they were offended they should have come out when the name was first initiated. You started playing -- how long have the Skins had their name for? How long have the Chiefs had their name for? How long have the Cleveland Indians had their name for? Years and years and years and all of a sudden the politically correct people have to come out now? I think everything's fine and I would just stick with the name."

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