Mayor Rob Ford has written character reference letters for a convicted murderer and a friend with a criminal past who is now facing drug charges, court records show.

Ford wrote a letter of support for his friend and occasional driver, Alexander 'Sandro' Lisi, who has been convicted of threatening to kill a woman.

The letter, dated June 4, 2013, was filed in court during Lisi’s sentencing hearing. Lisi received a suspended sentence and two years of probation in the case. He’s currently appealing the conviction.

Earlier this month, Lisi, 35, was arrested along with another man at an Etobicoke dry-cleaning store. He was charged with various drug- and conspiracy-related offences, and released on $5,000 bail.

In January 2012, Ford also wrote a character reference for Douglas Sedgewick, a tow-truck operator who was charged with a speeding violation. Sedgewick was convicted of second-degree murder in 1982, after the death of a man during a home invasion in Brampton. He served time but was later released on parole.

Ford’s letters of support for Lisi and Sedgewick were both written on city letterhead.

The character reference for Lisi praises the man’s “work ethic” and “diplomacy.”

In the letter, Ford called Lisi an “exemplary member” of his 2010 election campaign team, who “worked hard both in an out of the campaign office.”

Lisi has been described in various reports as a member of Ford’s entourage, but does not serve an official role in the mayor’s office.

“Mr. Lisi has demonstrated to myself that he has a great work ethic and has always shown tact and diplomacy,” Ford wrote.

In the letter, Ford also says he has known Lisi for several years, and that Lisi “has always conducted himself in a courteous and polite manner.”

After Lisi’s Oct. 3 arrest, Ford told reporters that he considers Lisi “a friend,” and said he was surprised by his arrest.

In the Sedgewick case, Ford wrote a supportive letter to the city’s Licensing Tribunal when Sedgewick was attempting to get his expired tow-truck licence reinstated after a stunt-driving charge.

Ford wrote that he knew Sedgewick through his own role as “an elected official active in the community.”

“Mr. Sedgewick is an employee of Bill and Son Towing Inc. and he has always conducted himself in a courteous and polite manner,” Ford wrote.

Following the Jan. 26, 2012 hearing, in which Ford’s letter was considered, the Licensing Tribunal ordered that Sedgewick be issued a tow-truck driver’s licence on a probationary basis.

Speaking at city hall Tuesday afternoon, Ford's brother, Doug, defended the mayor.

“Rob over his term has written numerous letters for people that have broken the law,” Coun. Doug Ford told reporters. “Rob doesn’t judge people, he doesn’t throw the book at people, he tries to help them.”

With files from CP24