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After initial forgetfulness, Rob Ford comes clean on the time he was caught with pot and refused to take a breathalyzer

Rob Ford poses with puppet version of Rob Ford (Image: Shaun Merritt)

Rob Ford has had what anyone would call a pretty bad week. After his performance at the debate on Tuesday night, Wednesday was filled with questions like “Is Rob Ford prejudiced?” That night, things got worse when Toronto Sun reporter Jonathan Jenkins called up and asked him if he’d ever been arrested on a drug charge in the United States. His answer was no. Then emphatically no. Then yes.

At least that’s how the Sun tells it:

…he said he was caught off guard and adamantly denied having been charged when first approached by the Sun.

“No to answer your question,” Ford said.

“I’m dead serious. When I say no, I mean never. No question. Now I’m getting offended. No means no.”

But after Ford was provided with details from a Florida state criminal history record obtained by the Sun, he admitted the incident.

“I completely forgot about it until you mentioned it right now,” he said.

“You think I’m BSing you but I’m not. It completely, totally slipped my mind.”

We’ve never heard of marijuana affecting long-term memory, but that’s beside the point. Turns out that Ford was found with a joint on him while on a Valentine’s Day getaway in 1999 with his then-fiancée Renata. At a press conference this morning in front of his family’s business, Ford explained that he’d forgotten about the marijuana charge because there was a more serious charge: refusing to provide a breath sample while driving. For that, he was fined $500 and ordered to do 50 hours of community service (he opted to coach football to repay his debt to the state of Florida).

Looking uncomfortable, Ford went on to explain to reporters that he’s faced criminal charges three times in his life:

• the incident in 1999
• an assault charge when he was 18 (apparently a hockey fight)
• another assault charge, along with one for threatening death, related to a domestic incident with his wife in 2008.

The reaction from other candidates has been mixed. Sarah Thomson is turning out to be Ford’s harshest critic, telling CFRB 1010 this shows once more the kind of man Rob Ford is. Rocco Rossi says the issue isn’t drug use—Rossi volunteers that he’s smoked pot once or twice, and inhaled—but the fact that Ford lied about the arrest. No word from Joe Pantalone or George Smitherman yet, and we’d be surprised if either of them jumped on this issue. Smitherman in particular has nothing to gain from getting into discussions about past drug use.

• Ford dodges pot bust in Florida [Toronto Sun]
• Ford admits to Florida breathalyzer conviction [Toronto Star]
• Ford admits marijuana, breathalyzer charges [CBC News]
• Ford forgot marijuana charge, remembers breath-test guilty plea [Globe and Mail]
Rob Ford’s record [Miami-Dade county clerk]