The wife of suspended San Francisco Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi is set to take the stand this evening in the Ethics Commission hearing on whether he should be removed from office.
Eliana Lopez is at the center of the case against her husband, who was suspended without pay by Mayor Ed Lee in March after pleading guilty to misdemeanor false imprisonment in connection with a Dec. 31 incident in which he bruised her arm during an argument.
Lopez, who has expressed support for her husband, left for her home country of Venezuela with the couple’s young son earlier this year but has returned to testify at the 5 p.m. Ethics Commission hearing, according to her attorney, Paula Canny.
Canny filed a request with the commission on Tuesday, asking for a Spanish translator to be provided to assist Lopez during her testimony this evening.
Lopez will likely address the events of Dec. 31, as well as a video she made the next day with a neighbor, Ivory Madison, in which she said Mirkarimi told her he is a powerful man and had threatened to take custody of the couple’s young son.
Madison then reported the incident to police on Jan. 4.
Lopez has already submitted a written declaration downplaying the Dec. 31 incident and criticizing Madison, saying she “felt betrayed” upon learning that she reported the case to police.
Mirkarimi’s campaign manager Linette Peralta Haynes is also expected to testify today about her communication with Mirkarimi during the fallout from the incident.
This evening’s hearing could also address allegations that Mayor Lee lied under oath during his testimony before the Ethics Commission on June 29.
Mirkarimi’s attorneys have requested subpoenas for four people they say can prove that Lee perjured himself during his testimony.
Subpoenas have been requested for city Building Inspection Commissioner Debra Walker and Supervisor Christina Olague, as well as former Board of Supervisors President Aaron Peskin and construction company owner Walter Wong.
Lee testified that he had not consulted with any supervisors about Mirkarimi before deciding to suspend him. But Walker told reporters outside the meeting that Olague had told her that Lee had discussed the issue with her prior to the suspension.
Lee also testified that he had not offered Mirkarimi a job via an intermediary in exchange for his resignation from office.
But Peskin has told reporters that a third party, Wong, asked him to offer Mirkarimi a job on the mayor’s behalf.
The Ethics Commission could decide this evening whether to issue the subpoenas for the four witnesses.
The commission will ultimately make a recommendation to the Board of Supervisors on whether Mirkarimi should be permanently removed from office.
Nine of the 11 supervisors would have to approve the sheriff’s ouster. Mirkarimi served on the board for seven years before being elected sheriff in November and taking office on Jan. 8.
Dan McMenamin, Bay City News