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Anchored by Jake Tapper, The Lead airs at 4 p.m. ET on CNN.

Anchored by Jake Tapper, The Lead airs at 4 p.m. ET on CNN.

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May 30th, 2013
06:22 PM ET

Report: Toronto mayor knows location of video showing him smoking crack

His staff is fleeing in droves, but besieged Toronto Mayor Rob Ford is sticking with his story that he does not smoke crack.

In the latest twist, The Toronto Star's Kevin Donovan reported Thursday that, according to Donovan's sources, Ford told his staff two weeks ago that he knows where the video is, which is at odds with Ford's public statements.

"I do not use crack cocaine, nor am I an addict of crack cocaine. As for a video, I cannot comment on a video that I have never seen or does not exist," Ford told the press last Friday.

"This mayor, both when he was councilor and now mayor for a couple of years, is no stranger to issuing denials, and dismissing things that the media have reported. And this is just another one," Donovan told CNN. "What we've reported today is that he definitely made a comment, giving an apartment unit in a floor, and an actual municipal address where this video could be found."

The video is located in an area of Toronto where Donovan said he and his colleague met the person who showed them the video in the first place.

Gawker and The Toronto Star first launched this story into the media stratosphere, but neither publication has been able to reconnect with the people they say have the video. More than 8,000 people have pitched in more than $200,000 dollars to the crowd-funding website Indiegogo to buy the video.

"In the wired world, it certainly is amazing that this hasn't gotten out. When we saw it, it was on an iPhone," said Donovan, who added that John Cook, of Gawker, also viewed it on an iPhone.

Donovan said copies of the video have not been made public, as far as he knows.

"I'm confident that it's going to see the light of day. But it seems to be in hiding for the foreseeable future," said Donovan.

In the meantime, two more staffers quit the Toronto mayor's office Thursday afternoon amid the scandal.

"My understanding is that they quit on principle. They just couldn't stand it there any longer," said Donovan.

A total of five staffers have resigned, but Ford may just ride out this political storm.

"This mayor has incredible staying power. It is quite possible that he will just, you know, run the table and hope that he can be reelected in 18 months," said Donovan. "There's no mechanism, as I understand it, to remove him."

Toronto police have now charged a second man with first degree murder in the killing of 21-year-old Anthony Smith. He appears in a photograph with his arm around Mayor Ford, but, said Donovan, there appears to be nothing that ties the mayor to the murder.

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