Newspaper article The Canadian Press

'Crack Video' Extortion Preliminary Inquiry for Rob Ford's Friend Begins

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

'Crack Video' Extortion Preliminary Inquiry for Rob Ford's Friend Begins

Article excerpt

Extortion hearing for Rob Ford's friend begins

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TORONTO - A preliminary hearing into extortion charges began Monday for a friend and former driver of Toronto's infamous former mayor Rob Ford.

The charge against Alexander (Sandro) Lisi relates to an alleged attempt to retrieve the notorious cellphone "crack video," which shows Ford apparently smoking crack cocaine.

The alleged offences occurred in May 2013 as a drug scandal engulfed Ford, who would later admit to having used the illicit drug.

The judge placed a publication ban on any evidence presented at the hearing -- as is normal at this stage of the proceedings.

Lisi, 36, of Toronto, is charged with using threats of violence or other illegal means in an effort to retrieve the cellphone video.

The preliminary inquiry is designed to test whether there is enough evidence to commit him to trial.

Lisi, who was arrested in October 2013 on the extortion charge, has elected to be tried by a judge and jury should he have to stand trial. …

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