TORONTO (AP) — Toronto Mayor Rob Ford will take a leave of absence to seek help for substance abuse, his lawyer said Wednesday, as a report surfaced about a second video of the mayor smoking what appears to be crack cocaine.
The Globe and Mail newspaper reported it has viewed a second video of Ford smoking what appears to be crack cocaine in his sister's basement. The national newspaper reported two Globe reporters viewed the video from a self-professed drug dealer showing Ford taking a drag from a pipe early Saturday morning.
The video is part "of a package of three videos the dealer said was surreptitiously filmed around 1:15 a.m., and which he says he is now selling for 'at least six figures,'" the paper reported.
News reports of the existence of an earlier video of Ford apparently smoking crack first surfaced last May, igniting a media firestorm around Ford.
The latest crack tape report comes as Ford's lawyer, Dennis Morris, said the mayor will take a leave of absence for substance abuse. Ford is seeking re-election in the Oct. 27 vote.
Morris said he spoke to Ford earlier Wednesday and said Ford has accepted that he has a problem.
"He acknowledges he has a substance abuse problem and he wants to do something about it," Morris told The Associated Press.
Ford, who launched his campaign for re-election earlier this year, acknowledged last year after months of denials that he smoked crack in a "drunken stupor" after police said they obtained a video that appears to show him smoking crack. The video has never been released to the public.
Ford has careened from one scandal to another, becoming a national embarrassment for many Canadians.
Also on Wednesday, The Toronto Sun reported that it obtained an audio recording of Ford making offensive remarks about other politicians at a bar on Monday night.
Ford has refused to resign, despite mounting pressure after a string of incidents, from public drunkenness to an appearance in another video that showed him threatening "murder" in an incoherent rant. Toronto's city council has stripped him of most of his powers.
Ford said last year that he quit drinking alcohol after having a "come to Jesus moment" but later acknowledged that he drank again. A number of recordings of the mayor intoxicated have surfaced since.
Ford acknowledged "rocky moments over the past year" during his official campaign launch earlier this month but vowed to fight harder than ever to win re-election.
Ford, who was the first to register as a candidate in January, invoked the spirit of second chances during a speech in front of supporters.
A message left with Ford's chief of staff was not returned. Ford's lawyer, Morris, did not immediately respond to a call seeking comment on the reports that emerged Wednesday night.
John Tory, who is running against Ford in the election, said he's relieved that Ford is seeking help but said "for the good of the city" he should resign.
The Toronto Sun described the audio recording it obtained and posted online as a "raunchy audio recording of Ford ranting and swearing" in a Toronto neighborhood bar.
Among the statements attributed to Ford on the recording is, "I'm so f-----g sick of politics, dude. Look at my record." Ford allegedly says of mayoral contender Karen Stintz, "I'd like to f-----g jam her (Stintz), but she doesn't want ... I can't talk like this ... I'm so sorry." The recording also captured threatening statements allegedly made by Ford: "Give me a shot right now or I'll f-----g break your legs. I want another one," and "If you don't give me a shot I'm going to knock your f-----g teeth out."
Witnesses in the Sun's report claim Ford was unruly and attempting to start fights with patrons. "He was really wasted," a witness told the Sun. "And he was acting like a real ass."
Read the Toronto Sun report here.
Ford issued a statement Wednesday night following the reports, admitting, "It’s not easy to be vulnerable and this is one of the most difficult times in my life. I have a problem with alcohol, and the choices I have made while under the influence. I have struggled with this for some time."
He added that he would be taking a leave from the campaign and his role as mayor to seek help. "I have tried to deal with these issues by myself over the past year. I know that I need professional help and I am now 100% committed to getting myself right. I love the people of Toronto, I love being your mayor and I hope you will continue to stand by me. With the support of my family, friends, professionals and the people of Toronto, I will conquer this."