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'Yes, I have smoked crack cocaine. Am I an addict? No.' - Toronto Mayor

Mayor Rob Ford wants the video of him smoking crack released. “I want everyone in the city to see the tape… I want to see the state I was in”

THE MAYOR OF Toronto has admitted that he once smoked crack, months after a video allegedly showing him taking the drug surfaced and sparked calls for his resignation.

Mayor Rob Ford, 44, however denied he was an addict, in comments that marked a stunning turnaround following repeated steadfast denials of the explosive drug allegations.

“Yes, I have smoked crack cocaine,” Ford told reporters outside his office. “Am I an addict? No. Have I tried it? Probably in one of my drunken stupors,” he added.

image(Mayor Rob Ford says he will not resign after admitting to smoking crack. Pic: PA Images: Aaron Vincent Elkaim)

Ford said he believed the incident happened “about a year ago,” but admitted: “I don’t know exactly.”

“I’ve made mistakes. All I can do now is apologize and move on,” he said. “It is what it is.”

Following his admission, Ford rushed back into his office, without commenting on his political future.

He had until today steadfastly denied the drug allegations, rebuffed calls for his resignation and vowed to run for re-election next year.

The 90-second clip at the center of the scandal has caused an uproar since its existence was first reported in May.

The daily Toronto Star and American gossip website Gawker said they had seen the footage, which reportedly showed a man resembling Ford lolling back in a chair in a room, inhaling from what appeared to be a glass crack pipe.

But after Gawker raised more than $200,000 in an online campaign to buy the video, it said it was told by its unnamed source that the video was “gone.”

Last week, Toronto police chief Bill Blair said technicians had salvaged the deleted video and other data from a hard drive seized in an investigation of the mayor’s longtime friend Alexander Lisi for extortion, related to Lisi’s attempts to recover the video.

“I want everyone in the city to see the tape”

Ford and his lawyer meanwhile have called on police to release the video, but Blair declined, saying it was evidence in a criminal case now before the courts.

“I want everyone in the city to see the tape… I want to see the state I was in,” Ford said Tuesday.

Earlier, Ford’s brother Doug, who is also a Toronto city councillor, called for Blair to step aside over comments he had made last week about the video.

image(Pickets outside a studio where Rob Ford was talking on a radio show at the weekend. Pic: Mark Birch/PA Images)

During a press conference last Thursday, Blair confirmed that the mayor appeared in the video and added that he was “disappointed.”

“In my opinion, with the chief’s comments the other day, we have the most political police chief I’ve ever seen. The police chief believes he’s the judge, the jury and the executioner,” Doug Ford told a televised press conference.

“It’s unacceptable, his comments,” he said. “He’s definitely stepped over the line.”

“The chief shouldn’t have come out and made the comments while he was wearing the police chief’s uniform, about his personal opinions about the mayor.”

Blair responded: “I’m not going to respond to any personal attacks. We’re going to continue to do our job.”

Read: Toronto police say they have video of ‘Mayor with crack pipe’ >

Read: Mayor of Toronto beats Hulk Hogan at arm wrestling >

© – AFP

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