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Here’s a headline that any civilized community would be up in arms to read: Mayor Denies Murdering Local Man. And yet as a journalist in Toronto, today’s the day to report on Rob Ford’s denial that he had a role in the murder of Anthony Smith—a killing that Rob Ford’s former Chief of Staff Mark Towhey claims is connected to the crack tape. Likewise, David Price, Rob Ford’s former “Logistics Director,” told police the crack tape was the “motive for [Anthony Smith’s] murder.”
The Toronto Police, however, dismissed these claims from former Rob Ford staffers by stating, “This theory is not correct based on previous interceptions relevant to the murder of Smith,” an apparent allusion to their semi-transparent surveillance operation into the comings and goings of one Rob Ford.
Anthony Smith’s killer is apparently a man named Nisar Hashimi, whose charges were downgraded from first-degree murder to manslaughter after surrendering to the police—in what was described to the National Post by criminal lawyer Edward Sapiano as being “very uncommon,” as the Crown is usually “far too reluctant” to accept lesser charges in murder cases. This has caused some speculation that Nisar provided valuable information to the police, which may have led to such a lenient decision.
The official story of Anthony Smith’s murder is that Nisar went out to the Loki Lounge nightclub on King St. W hopped up on cough syrup and booze on March 27, 2013. It was there that he ran into Anthony Smith and a man named Muhammad Khattak—who the police considered to be part of the Dixon St. Bloods street gang. Nisar had beef with the gang, a fight broke out, and Nisar shot at both men—killing Anthony Smith and wounding Muhammad Khattak. This account of the story certainly lines up with the Toronto Police’s assertion that the murder was unrelated to Rob Ford and the crack tape.
Hanad Mohamed was with Nisar on the night Anthony Smith was killed—which is why he was arrested in Fort McMurray, at an apartment where a man was flung from the balcony weeks after Hanad’s arrest. Like Nisar, Hanad was originally charged with first-degree murder, but his charges were reduced to: “Accessory after the fact to manslaughter, accessory to discharging a firearm, and accessory to aggravated assault.”
The police alleged that Hanad drove Nisar away from the scene of the crime, but yesterday, the Crown admitted they have “no evidence” to convict Hanad—so his charges were stayed; meaning they could be re-activated in court sometime in the next year. It’s apparently because of this recent development that Rob Ford felt the need to tell Joe Warmington of the Toronto Sun that he “had nothing to do with” the killing of Anthony Smith and is “tired” of the rumours that say otherwise, while adding that all of the speculation “pisses me off.” In the same interview, Rob Ford also ramped up his libel chill rhetoric by warning journalists to “watch what they write”—though to date the only libel suit in this whole messy affair came from the Toronto Star, after Rob Ford accused reporter Daniel Dale of being a pervert.
For many Torontonians and observers of this entangled, criminal-political craziness, it’s hard to believe Rob Ford when he denies any accusation—given his past history of refuting stories that are verifiably true. The crack tape comes to mind, for example. Granted, the difference between smoking crack and having a guy killed is vast—and I would prefer to believe Toronto’s mayor is not out there putting hits on people.
Rob’s insistence that he was not involved in Anthony Smith’s killing has caused the story of a 2012 jailhouse beating to get boomeranged back into the news cycle. As the Toronto Sun reported last November, a drug dealer named Scott MacIntyre, Kathy Ford’s (Rob’s sister) former common-law spouse, barged into the Ford family residence in January 2012 and threatened to kill the mayor. Hours after that unpleasant episode, Scott was arrested and charged with cocaine and heroin possession, which stacked up against his charges for threatening to kill Rob Ford.
In March 2012, Scott MacIntyre was beaten in jail so severely that Justice Paul French described his broken leg as “catastrophic.” Scott also ended up with shattered teeth and “other injuries.” According to the judge, Scott was beaten because he became “a bother” to Rob Ford. Scott apparently “vowed to expose the Ford Family,” and in one letter written to Kathy Ford, which was intercepted by staff at the Metro West Detention Centre where he was being held, Scott wrote, “stop this shit or I am going to start a shitstorm.”
As Natalie Alcoba of the National Post reported on Twitter today, Scott is now suing Rob Ford in connection with his brutal beating, which would indicate this part of the story is far from over. It sems, too, as if Rob knew this was coming as he also complained to Warmington about the media sending detailed questions about his alleged role in Scott's beating—which Jonathan Goldsbie has rightly pointed out likely indicates someone is close to publishing a bombshell story. We certainly went through the same process when we broke our hacker story. Jonathan Goldsbie also got his hands on the statement of claim itself, and announced that Scott is alleging "Ford's infamous murder rant video was him conspiring with [former high school football coach] Payman Aboodowleh to have MacIntyre beaten."
An excerpt from the statement of claim, via Don Peat on Twitter.
This afternoon, Rob Ford apparently spent much of his time on the clock in his office, speaking with criminal defense attorney Dennis Morris—commonly known as the "Hotmail lawyer" for his antiquated email address. This certainly isn’t helping to extinguish the rumours and speculation that piss the mayor off so much; as it’s not a very reassuring occurrence for a public official to spend his working hours receiving legal advice from a criminal defense expert.
No charges have been laid against Rob Ford for smoking crack (he wasn’t caught pipe-handed, after all), let alone killing a guy, but it is unclear if the Toronto Police have finished laying their cards out on the table when it comes to Project Traveler, Project Brazen 2, and their extended investigation into potential criminality at City Hall. There are certainly more questions than answers when it comes to Mayor Ford’s drug-addled reign in Toronto, and any possible links he may have to the criminal underworld; all of which, at one time or another, have likely been scrawled on a Toronto Police whiteboard in a cloud of question marks.