US & Canada

Toronto Mayor Rob Ford 'will not resign'

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)

Toronto Mayor Rob Ford has said he will not resign despite an ongoing scandal over a video purporting to show him smoking crack cocaine.

During a news conference on Thursday, Mr Ford refused to answer any questions directly related to the affair.

The mayor has lost several staff in resignations and sackings since the scandal broke.

Meanwhile, a second man has been arrested in the death of a man seen posing with Mr Ford in a photo.

Hanad Mohamed, 23, is due to appear in court on Friday on a murder charge accused of killing Anthony Smith, 21.

The photo of Smith and Mr Ford is reported to have been provided to news media by the people who have the video.

'Anything else?'

"Everything is fine," Mr Ford said on Thursday, just hours after two staff members departed, joining a series of defections and sackings from the office.

The Toronto mayor said he would not resign and was planning to run in the next election, slated for October 2014.

"If the great people of this city want to go in a different direction, that's what their prerogative is," Mr Ford said.

He refused to answer any questions about the video, responding to queries with: "Anything else?"

Mr Ford has denied the video exists, accusing the media of stoking a scandal.

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.

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

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.

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.

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.

On Thursday, 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. Two spokesmen have also quit. His office has denied reports that it ordered emails and phone records to be destroyed after other city hall aides were fired or quit.

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