A notorious video showing late Toronto politician Rob Ford smoking crack cocaine that sparked a storm of controversy and marred the tenure of the former mayor of Canada's largest city was released Thursday to the public. A Toronto court lifted a ban on publication of the video, shot in February 2013 and later seized by the police, after an extortion charge was withdrawn Thursday against Sandro Lisi, Ford's friend and former driver. It shows Ford swearing and mumbling while holding what appears to be a crack pipe, which he lights and draws on, reports the AP. "Mr. Lisi, with this I take it that we have reached the close of a rather tumultuous chapter in the civic life of this city," said Justice Ian MacDonnell, as he closed the case.
The international spotlight fell on Ford in May 2013, when the Toronto Star and Gawker reported the existence of the video, igniting revelations about Ford's drinking and illegal drug problems. At the time, Ford denied the existence of the video, saying he could not comment on a video "that I have never seen or does not exist." He later backtracked when police said they had obtained it. Although he became the subject of a police investigation, Ford was never charged with a crime, but he eventually checked into a rehab facility. After undergoing treatment, he resumed his bid for re-election as mayor. However, in September 2014, he withdrew from the mayoral race, announcing he had been diagnosed with a rare form of cancer. He died earlier this year at age 46. You can view the video here. (Read more Rob Ford stories.)