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Toronto Mayor Rob Ford sticks up for Justin Bieber, says he's only 19

Toronto Mayor Rob Ford is shown in Toronto on Thursday, January 23, 2014. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette

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Toronto Mayor Rob Ford is shown in Toronto on Thursday, January 23, 2014. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette

TORONTO - Toronto Mayor Rob Ford is sticking up for another headline-grabbing Canadian — Justin Bieber.

Ford was asked about the pop singer when he spoke by phone Thursday to hosts on the Washington, D.C.-based Sports Junkies radio show.

Ford said Bieber is only 19 and asked the radio personalities, who called Bieber "Canada's worst export," to think back to when they were that age. On Wednesday, Bieber was charged in Toronto with assault.

Ford, who has become internationally known for his many headline grabbing moments in recent months, says he's never met Bieber and is not a fan of his music, preferring Rush and Led Zeppelin.

Bieber has a court date on March 10 in connection with allegations the pop star hit a limousine driver in the back of the head when he was in Toronto on Dec. 30.

Bieber is also facing charges of driving under the influence, resisting arrest and driving with an expired licence in Florida. He has pleaded not guilty to the charges in Florida and his Canadian lawyer says Bieber is innocent of the Toronto charge.

Ford was also asked by the radio hosts about a lawsuit filed against him from his sister's ex-boyfriend, alleging the mayor conspired to have him attacked in jail to prevent his illicit behaviours from becoming publicly known.

The mayor said he would not discuss the matter since it is before the courts, but his lawyer said Wednesday the allegations are "without fact or foundation."

Ford's comment on Bieber was: "He's a young guy, 19 years old. I wish I was as sucessful as he was."

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