A San Francisco Superior Court judge today ordered AT&T Mobility LCC to turn over records of some of the cellphone calls and text messages sent by and to suspended Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi and his wife between Dec. 31 and Jan. 13.
Mayor Ed Lee sought the records for use in upcoming Ethics Commission hearings in which Lee is seeking to have Mirkarimi removed from office for misconduct related to a Dec. 31 incident in which his wife, Eliana Lopez, suffered a bruise on her arm during an argument.
Among other claims, Lee contends Mirkarimi should be dismissed because he allegedly engaged in domestic violence, falsely imprisoned Lopez, threatened to use his power as public official against her and attempted to dissuade witnesses from talking to police.
The subpoena ordered by Superior Court Judge Harold Kahn today is narrower than the one originally sought by Lee, who initially asked for records of all phone calls and texts sent or received by the couple during that two weeks.
The order is now limited to any calls or messages transmitted between Mirkarimi and Lopez and any that either of them sent to or received from four people.
The four people are Ivory Madison and Callie Williams, two neighbors to whom Lopez allegedly talked about the Dec. 31 incident; Abraham Mertens, Madison’s husband; and Mirkarimi campaign manager Linnette Peralta Haynes.
Deputy City Attorney Peter Keith said the subpoenaed records would be relevant both to a general picture of those two weeks and to the allegation of dissuading witnesses.
“It’s part of the larger process of gathering evidence” for the commission proceeding, he said.
“The information is pertinent to the dissuasion charge and to a general understanding of what was going on,” Keith said.
Robert David Waggoner, who opposed the subpoena in court filings, said he doesn’t expect to appeal Kahn’s decision.
“The sheriff has nothing to hide,” Waggoner said.
“The entire allegation that he dissuaded anyone or ordered anyone to destroy anything is baseless,” the attorney said.
The records to be handed over by AT&T will list the dates, duration and recipients of the calls and messages but will not provide the content.
Mirkarimi, then a city supervisor, was elected sheriff in November and took office on Jan. 8. On Jan. 13, he was charged with three misdemeanors, including domestic violence, stemming from the Dec. 31 incident.
In March, the sheriff pleaded guilty to a newly filed fourth charge of falsely imprisoning his wife, and prosecutors dropped the other three counts. He was sentenced on March 19 to three years’ probation and a year of domestic violence counseling.
Two days later, Lee initiated the administrative removal proceeding before the Ethics Commission and suspended Mirkarimi from office until that process is completed.
The commission is due to begin taking written and live testimony from witnesses later this month.
Its eventual recommendation on whether Mirkarimi should be removed from office will go to the Board of Supervisors. A vote of nine of the 11 supervisors would be needed to order him off the job.
Julia Cheever, Bay City News