Celebrity news: Rob Ford backs Justin Bieber

Toronto’s favorite black sheep, Mayor Rob Ford, is rising to the defense of fellow Canadian Justin Bieber, who was charged with assault Wednesday for allegedly hitting a Toronto limousine driver several times in the back of the head last month. The news broke a few hours after the teenage pop star’s attorney entered a separate not guilty plea in Florida to drunken-driving and other charges. Ford, who has admitted smoking crack while in a drunken stupor and is being sued for supposedly orchestrating the jailhouse beating of his sister’s ex-boyfriend, defended Bieber when a US radio host called Bieber ‘‘Canada’s worst export.’’ ‘‘Well, you know what, he’s a young guy,’’ Ford said Thursday. ‘‘At 19 years old, I wish I was as successful as he was.”