TORONTO – A Toronto Star reporter dropped his defamation lawsuit against Toronto Mayor Rob Ford on Wednesday after Ford issued a more expansive apology for suggesting the journalist is a pedophile.
Ford said in a letter that he should not have said what he said and acknowledged everything he said about the reporter was false.
Ford, who admitted last month to smoking crack "in a drunken stupor," appeared on a Vision TV interview and accused reporter Daniel Dale of taking pictures of his little kids. Ford said he didn't "want to say that word but you start thinking what this guy is all about."
Ford's insinuation was related to an instance when Dale was close to Ford's house in May 2012, investigating a plot of public land adjacent to Ford's home that the mayor wanted to buy.
Dale has said he was writing a story about the plot so he went to take a look at it when the mayor emerged from his home to confront him. Dale said he was never on Ford's property, didn't take any pictures and said the mayor's two children were nowhere in sight.
Ford first apologized in city council on Tuesday but blamed the media for the insinuation.
Dale rejected that apology and said he would continue to pursue legal action. The libel noticed called for the mayor to issue an "unreserved, abject, complete apology" of all false claims.
The mayor of Canada's largest city now has retracted everything he said about Dale and the incident.
"There was absolutely no basis for the statement I made about Mr. Dale taking pictures of children, or for any insinuations I made. I should not have said what I did and I wholly retract my statements and apologize to Mr. Dale without reservation for what I said," Ford wrote.
Dale accepted the second apology.
"I won't be taking legal action against the mayor, and I'm looking forward to getting back to work," Dale said on Twitter. "I sincerely appreciate Mayor Ford's complete retraction and unqualified apology, and I'm very glad the truth is no longer in dispute."
Ford has rebuffed intense pressure to resign over his admitted crack use and revelations of other erratic behavior. The Toronto City Council has stripped him of most of his powers in an attempt to sideline him but the conservative mayor has vowed to seek re-election next year.
Ford has taken pointed shots at the media, calling journalists maggots and then apologizing. Allegations about Ford smoking crack surfaced in May when two reporters for the Toronto Star and one from the U.S. website Gawker said they saw a video of Ford appearing to smoke from a crack pipe, but they did not obtain a copy. Ford vilified the Star, accusing the paper of trying to take him down.
Ford first denied the tape existed but later when Toronto police announced in October they had obtained a copy, the mayor admitted he had smoked the drug.