Gawker surpasses $200K goal to obtain alleged drug video
Published Monday, May 27, 2013 9:55AM EDT
Last Updated Monday, May 27, 2013 9:41PM EDT
U.S. website Gawker has succeeded in its crowdfunding campaign to raise $200,000 to buy an alleged drug video involving Toronto Mayor Rob Ford, who has said repeatedly the video does not exist.
By Monday afternoon Gawker had raised more than $200,300, despite acknowledging it had lost contact with the purported broker of the video.
The existence or content of the video has not been verified by CTV News.
Since reports were published, by the U.S. website Gawker and the Toronto Star, about the alleged video that purportedly shows the mayor smoking from a glass pipe, Ford has denied the video exists and said he does not smoke crack cocaine and is not addicted to the drug.
Earlier Monday, Star city hall reporter Robyn Doolittle, one of three people to claim to have seen the video, told a local radio station that copies exist.
In an interview with the Dean Blundell Show on radio station 102.1 The Edge, Doolittle said: “My information is that there is another copy of it.”
She added: “Actually, there is at least one other copy, there might be two other copies. One is out of the city, and one is somewhere else.”
Doolittle also said that the paper has been getting calls from people who say they have seen the video.
Meanwhile, Ford said Monday he has “no idea” why homicide investigators spoke with someone in his office about a tip linked to the alleged video.
The head of the Toronto Police homicide unit, Staff Insp. Greg McLane, told CP24 that a member of the mayor’s office was interviewed, but not in relation to a homicide.
Rather, McLane said homicide investigators were brought in because of their interviewing skills.
Earlier Monday, the Globe and Mail reported that police had spoken to a senior member of Ford's staff after receiving a tip suggesting there was a link between the alleged video of Ford smoking from a glass pipe and a homicide.
According to the Globe, the staffer claimed to know the address and unit number where the video could be found.
When the story was first reported by the Star and Gawker, both accounts were accompanied by a photo allegedly provided by the men attempting to sell the video.
That photo allegedly shows Ford and two men, one of whom appears to be Anthony Smith -- a 21-year-old who was shot and killed in March.
When asked about the interview during a brief news conference Monday afternoon, Ford said, “Everything’s fine.”
“I have no idea what the police are investigating. It’s better that you talk to the police about that,” he said.