Today, Toronto Mayor Rob Ford's conflict of interest trial began with the judge allowing Twitter comments to be sent from within the court room.
Mayor Ford held fast to his belief that he didn't have a conflict of interest when he spoke to City Council prior to that would decide if Ford should pay back the city $3,000 after being told to by the Integrity Commission in February. Ford also took part in the voting process. Today it's being argued if that action was a conflict of interest. If found guilty Ford could be ousted from his position of Mayor. If the judge rules that Ford was guilty he could decide that breach was inadvertent, and error of judgement or the amount involved is insignificant and Ford could keep his job.
During the morning testimony Ford was grilled by defense lawyer Clayton Ruby. Ford repeated that it is his view that his actions would only be a conflict of interest if he and the city both benefited from the vote. He said that the money in question went to his foundation and the kids directly. He does not believe that soliciting money from lobbyists is wrong as he asks everyone for donations.
Ruby continued questioning Ford after the lunch break with many in the courtroom reporting that it appeared that the mayor was clueless about many of the questions. Ford said that his office had no procedure to identify possible conflicts of interest and that "It's up to myself to declare a conflict".
According to Ford's June 28 deposition and interviews with the media the mayor appears to have implied that the integrity commissioner illegally recommended that the council force Ford to repay the money in question.
When asked by Ruby if Ford used his foundation during his mayoral campaign the mayor said he had.
At one point Ruby asked the mayor if he ran his own Twitter account. Ford said he did not. When Ford's lawyer objected Ruby explained he was wanting to establish a pattern of behavior, which was a pattern of Mayor Rob Ford lying. The judge responded that he believes that Ruby was casting doubt on on mayor's alternative defense that, if he broke the law, it was inadvertent or an error of judgment. Ruby was allowed to continue questioning.
Ruby questioned Ford about a May 2010 council meeting where Ford declared a conflict and left the chamber because of an integrity commissioner report on his conduct. Ruby said that this action shows that Ford did indeed understand that he should not take part in a debate that concerned his own conduct.
The first day of trial ended just before 5:00 p.m. and will continue in the morning as Ruby finishes his cross examination.
The mayor's football foundation is not a registered charity and does not have a dedicated website.