US & Canada

Second arrest over death linked to Toronto mayor scandal

Anthony Smith (left), Rob Ford and two other men in an image provided to the BBC by Gawker
Image caption An image provided to Gawker by the people purporting to have the video appears to show Mayor Rob Ford with Anthony Smith (left)

A second man has been arrested in the death of a man linked to a video purported to show Toronto Mayor Rob Ford smoking crack cocaine.

Hanad Mohamed, 23, is due to appear in court on Friday on a murder charge.

He is accused of killing Anthony Smith, 21, seen posing with Mr Ford in a photo reported to have been provided to news media by the people who have the video.

Mr Ford has denied the video exists, accusing the media of stoking a scandal that has roiled city politics.

Journalists from the Toronto Star and US website Gawker say they have seen - but not obtained - a video that appeared to show Mr Ford smoking the drug.

In a photograph they say was provided to them by the people who showed them the video, Mr Ford can be seen posing with his arm around Smith.

Mr Mohamed was arrested on Wednesday in Alberta and is charged with murder.

In April, 23-year-old Nisar Hashimi turned himself in over the killing and also faces a murder charge.

Media captionMr Ford said video of him smoking crack cocaine "does not exist"

The video has not been released publicly and has not been verified.

Gawker used a crowd-funding campaign to raise $200,000 (£140,000) to buy the video, but the website said it lost contact with the people in possession of the footage.

Mr Ford has said he does not smoke crack cocaine and is not an addict.

"I cannot comment on a video that I've never seen or that does not exist," he said last week.

The mayor has come under mounting pressure to resolve the issue as city councillors have called openly for him to step aside or seek help.

Two departures from the Toronto mayor's office on Thursday joined a stream of defections and sackings in recent days.

Brian Johnston, a policy adviser, told Canadian media he had resigned. Kia Nejatian, the mayor's executive assistant, has also left.

Earlier in May, Mr Ford sacked his chief of staff Mark Towhey. His office has denied reports that it ordered emails and phone records to be destroyed after other city hall aides were fired or quit in recent days.

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