Embattled Toronto Mayor Rob Ford has come to the defense of fellow Canadian and teen pop star Justin Bieber, who has been arrested twice over the past week.
The 19-year-old pop star had turned himself in to city police on Wednesday and faces an assault charge, stemming from a December incident involving his limo driver. Bieber's lawyer said he is innocent. It marked the latest in a series of legal problems, including a DUI arrest in Florida last week, for the popular singer.
Ford, who famously admitted in November to drunk driving and smoking crack cocaine in separate incidents and has, like Bieber, become a favorite joke target on late-night talk shows, was asked about the pop singer during a phone interview with DJs from the "Sports Junkies" radio show on the 106.7 The Fan FM station in Washington, D.C. on Thursday. (Watch it below)
"What is going on with Canada's worst export, Justin Bieber? You guys can have him back," one of the DJs asked Ford.
"You know what, he's a young guy," the major answered. "At 19 years old, I wish I was as successful as he was."
Ford, 45, said he has never met Bieber and was not familiar with his music, adding that he was more of a fan of Led Zeppelin and the Rolling Stones.
2 court dates in 2 countries for Justin Bieber
Bieber, whose turmoil and past controversial incidents have spurred a White House petition calling for his deportation, has not responded to Ford's remarks. He has pleaded not guilty to charges of DUI, driving with an expired license and resisting arrest with regard to his Florida case and is due to be arraigned on Feb. 14 - Valentine's Day. He has a court date over his assault case in Toronto on March 10.
On Thursday, a preliminary toxicology report showed that after the incident, traces of pot and Xanax were found in Bieber's system. Police said he told authorities he had "consumed alcohol, smoked pot and prescription medication."
Since Ford admitted to his substance abuse, many in Toronto have called for him to resign. He is running for re-election. On Thursday, Ford faced a new legal problem -- his sister's ex-boyfriend sued him, claiming the mayor conspired to have him threatened and beaten in prison. Ford's lawyer said the allegations are "without fact or foundation," according to the Reuters news wire, which carried the report.
Asked about the resignation calls, Ford told the Washington, D.C. radio show that he is unaffected by them and that "we're gonna win the next election. I just can't wait until October 27. Let the people decide. I'm saving money. I've saved over a billion dollars and that's a fact and no mayor's done what I've done so let my record speak for itself. They wanna get personal? Let them get personal."
(Pictured above: Justin Bieber is seen in a Miami court after he was arrested on Jan. 23, 2014 on suspicion of DUI and drag-racing.)