Progressive Conservative staffer charged with harassment

The Progressive Conservative leadership race has taken an ugly turn with an aide to candidate Monte McNaughton facing criminal charges after workers for rival Christine Elliott’s campaign received threatening text messages.

Rida Ali, 22, who appeared at College Park court Monday, is charged with four counts of criminal harassment-communicate and one count of criminal harassment-threaten, said Toronto police.

Free on $1,000 bail, her next court appearance is Thursday at College Park.

“Ms. Ali maintains her innocence and intends to defend against these allegations to the full extent of the law,” her lawyer Marco Sciarra told the Star on Tuesday.

Details of the alleged threats cannot be reported because of a court-ordered publication ban.