Nearly two months after Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi was booked on domestic violence charges, the former District 5 Supervisor has accepted a plea deal.
As recently as Friday, Mirkarimi’s defense was working to have a key piece of video evidence excluded from his upcoming trial on domestic violence charges, a trial that now won’t happen.
The 55-second video, which reportedly shows Mirkarimi’s wife Eliana Lopez crying and pointing to a bruise on her arm, should not be admissible because it violates Mirkarimi’s right to cross-examine witnesses, his defense argued.
Mirkarimi, 50, faces charges of misdemeanor domestic violence battery, child endangerment and dissuading a witness in connection with a Dec. 31 incident in which he allegedly grabbed Lopez’s arm during an argument, causing the bruise.
While the video, which Lopez created with the help of neighbor Ivory Madison, has been admitted as a spontaneous admission, it was created as possible testimony in a criminal or family court proceeding, Defense attorney Lidia Stiglich argued.
Lopez has publicly denied the allegations against Mirkarimi and refused to cooperate with prosecutors. The video and allegations against Mirkarimi came to light only because Madison chose to contact the police.
Judge Garrett Wong had also agreed to allow an ex-girlfriend of Mirkarimi’s to testify, after Prosecutor Elizabeth Aguilar-Tarchi, argued that Flores’ it should be admitted because “it presents a truthful picture of Mr. Mirkarimi’s propensity for violence with female intimate partners.”
Days after prosecutors filed charges against Mirkarimi on Jan. 13, Christina Flores, an ex-girlfriend of his, filed a police report saying he was also abusive to her when they dated between June 2007 and December 2008.
Flores recounted to Wong what she said were three incidents of verbal abuse and a fourth of physical abuse in which Mirkarimi allegedly grabbed her arm during an argument, similar to the accusations involving Lopez.
Flores said the argument began when she found women’s underwear in Mirkarimi’s home that did not belong to her, and when she turned to leave his home, he grabbed her arm. She said after he saw the bruise the following day, he apologized.
Flores said their on-again, off-again relationship came to a halt in late 2008 when Mirkarimi returned from a trip to Brazil and “reported a one-night stand and he supposedly had gotten someone pregnant,” a woman that turned out to be Lopez.
However, all of this might be relatively moot: citing “sources close to the case,” the Ex reported today “prosecutors will amend the complaint against Mirkarimi, adding a misdemeanor charge of false imprisonment to which he is likely to plead guilty.”
The Chron confirmed that Mirkarimi pled guilty today to the false imprisonment charge today. In exchange, prosecutors dropped the misdemeanor domestic violence battery, child endangerment and dissuading a witness charges.
In court this morning, reports the Chron, “Mirkarimi apologized to his family, the Sheriff’s Department and the people of San Francisco. He also apologized to Ivory Madison.”
“I realize what was reported to the police was meant to help my family,” Mirkarimi told the court, reports the BC.
Mirkarimi said “I regret that these proceedings may have caused Ivory Madison and her family suffering and may have damaged her reputation,” reports ABC7.
According to the Ex, Mirkarimi will end up with a sentence of three years probation, 100 hours of community service, and 52 weeks of domestic violence counseling. The Chron adds that his sentence will include parenting classes, and CBS5 says he’ll also pay $590 in fines.
“For the last two months, this case has caused my family, my department, the sheriff’s department, and the city great turmoil, pain and disappointment,” Mirkarimi said outside of court. “This plea allows us to move forward.”
He said, “I intend to return to the business of running one of the finest sheriff’s departments in the nation, of mending my family and raising my son Theo in a safe and happy home.”
Mirkarimi said he will comment further after the sentencing March 19.
A stay-away order preventing Mirkarimi from contacting Lopez will remain in effect for the time being, and he will not be allowed to carry a weapon while the order is in effect, district attorney’s office spokesman Omid Talai said.