Rob Ford's staunchest supporter attempted on Wednesday to quell the storm of controversy raging around Toronto's mayor over his alleged use of crack cocaine by citing his record in office and blasting the media.
Councillor Doug Ford, who took no questions following a statement that was mostly a stump speech, did little to address the allegations that have plagued the mayor for almost a week.
"Rob is telling me these stories are untrue, that these accusations are ridiculous," Ford said.
"And I believe him."
Stepping in front of a crush of reporters and cameras, the councillor gamely defended his brother as an "honest and hard-working man" who has dedicated himself to the service of others.
But beyond citing his brother's denials, Ford did little to douse the flames sparked by two reports last week that the mayor was caught on cellphone video that appears to show him smoking crack and making homophobic and racist remarks.
"I'm not speaking for the mayor. The mayor is my brother. I love him and he'll speak for himself," Ford said.
"When?" a reporter interjected, to no effect.
"He's already addressed these allegations three times, I don't know how much more he can say."
In fact, the mayor has done little to refute the allegations from the U.S. website Gawker and the Toronto Star.
His only brief comments to date came Friday, when he called them "ridiculous" and suggested the newspaper was out to get him.
Instead, Ford bragged Wednesday about his brother's achievements as mayor, such as balancing the budget, before lashing out at the two publications in particular and the media in general.
He accused the media of going on a witch hunt that has ensnared the Ford family, reserving his harshest criticism for Gawker.
"To the folks at Gawker: What you are doing is disgusting and morally wrong," Ford said.
"Giving away prizes to try to raise money for drug dealers and extortionists is disgraceful."
Supporters, rivals and many outside observers have urged the mayor to address the allegations head on, to little avail so far.
The councillor said his brother has stayed silent on advice of his family and lawyers, and would let the media know if and when he had anything to say.
Police have only said they were monitoring the situation.
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