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Mayor: I don't smoke crack cocaine

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Toronto Mayor Rob Ford reads a statement to the media at City Hall (AP/The Canadian Press, Chris Young)

Toronto Mayor Rob Ford reads a statement to the media at City Hall (AP/The Canadian Press, Chris Young)

AP

Toronto Mayor Rob Ford reads a statement to the media at City Hall (AP/The Canadian Press, Chris Young)

Toronto's mayor has said he does not smoke crack cocaine and is not an addict, after a video purported to show him using the drug.

Rob Ford, the leader of Canada's largest city, did not say whether he had ever used crack.

He did not take questions from reporters at a news conference at City Hall held after a week of silence and after close allies released a letter urging him to address the video, which apparently shows him smoking crack. "I do not use crack cocaine, nor am I an addict of crack cocaine," he said. "As for a video, I cannot comment on a video that I have never seen, or does not exist."

Mr Ford had been ducking the media and his only previous comments on the scandal came a week ago, a day after the story broke, when he called the crack-smoking allegations "ridiculous" and said accused the Toronto Star newspaper of being out to get him.

He had kept quiet because his lawyer advised him "not to say a word".

The video has not been released publicly and its authenticity has not been verified. Reports on gossip website Gawker and in the Toronto Star claimed it was taken by men who said they had sold the drug to Mr Ford.

The Star said two journalists had watched a video that appears to show Mr Ford, sitting in a chair, inhaling from what appears to be a glass crack pipe. The Star said it did not obtain the video or pay to watch it.

Gawker and the Star said the video was shown to them by a drug dealer who had been trying to sell it for a six-figure sum. The Star also said Mr Ford allegedly made a racist remark about the high school football pupils he coached.

Mr Ford said of the media: "It is most unfortunate, very unfortunate, that my colleagues and the great people of this city have been exposed to the fact that I've been judged by the media without any evidence."

But city councillor Glenn De Baeremaeker said he was profoundly disappointed in the mayor's statement and called on Mr Ford to resign. Mr De Baeremaeker said he believed the reports about Mr Ford's alleged drug use and said his tenure was over. "I don't believe the mayor," he said. "He should resign and then go seek help."