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(The first Ford crack video, that is.)
When Chief Bill Blair declared that police had recovered a video of then-mayor Rob Ford smoking what appeared to be crack cocaine, he simultaneously announced that Ford’s friend and sometime driver Alexander “Sandro” Lisi had been charged with extortion as a result of his own alleged efforts to obtain it.
That case will now be going to trial, with a date to be set at a hearing late next month.
At the conclusion of a nine-day preliminary inquiry that wrapped up Thursday afternoon at Old City Hall, Lisi’s lawyers conceded that the Crown had presented sufficient evidence to justify a trial. The threshold is low — whether a reasonable jury, properly instructed, could return a verdict of guilty — and the defence agreed that it had been met. Meanwhile, the Crown dropped their earlier request that the preliminary hearing be adjourned until September.
Because all evidence presented at the prelim is under a publication ban (for reasons we explained here), we can’t tell you about the exhibits and testimony we saw and heard in court. But it’ll all become publishable in due time: anything introduced at trial is immediately shareable, and the ban will lift on everything else once the trial has concluded.
The case has now been bumped up from the Ontario Court of Justice to the Superior Court, and the trial date will be set on May 27 at 9:30 am at 361 University. Lisi’s lawyers have previously indicated that he’ll ask to be tried by a judge and jury.
If you’re wondering, the specific charge is as follows:
[That Alexander Lisi on or about the 16th day of May and] ending on or about the 18th day of May, 2013, both dates inclusive, did, without reasonable justification or excuse and with intent to obtain a digital video recording or recordings or a cellular telephone or telephones, induce or attempt to induce Liban Siyad by threats, accusations, menaces or violence, to produce or deliver, or cause to have produced or deliveried
, the said digital video recording or recordings, or cellular telephone or telephones.
The conclusion of the crack-video saga is in sight.
In other news, Lisi’s other trial — the one on a handful of marijuana-related charges — will start up again on April 27.