San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee today again sharply criticized suspended Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi following accusations that Lee lied under oath at an Ethics Commission hearing last month on whether Mirkarimi should be removed from office.
Lee suspended Mirkarimi without pay in March after the sheriff pleaded guilty to misdemeanor false imprisonment in connection with a Dec. 31 incident in which he bruised the arm of his wife, Eliana Lopez, during an argument.
The mayor then testified at a June 29 Ethics Commission hearing in the case, and on Wednesday, Mirkarimi’s attorneys filed a request for the commission to issue subpoenas for four people they say could prove that Lee perjured himself with his testimony.
Mirkarimi “has been claiming conspiracy all day long since day one, and now he wants to try to create a conspiracy theory with me at the center,” Lee told reporters at an unrelated event today.
“The fact is, he did hurt his spouse, he did admit to false imprisonment,” Lee said. “I don’t think he deserves to serve in the office of the sheriff.”
He said, “There is misdirection being done here … the Ethics Commission has to focus on what the issue is at hand.”
Under the city charter, the Ethics Commission is tasked with conducting an inquiry into the matter and making a recommendation to the Board of Supervisors on whether Mirkarimi should be permanently removed from office.
When Lee testified in front of the commission, he said he did not consult with any of the supervisors before deciding to suspend Mirkarimi.
But Debra Walker, a member of the city’s Building Inspection Commission, told reporters outside the hearing that Supervisor Christina Olague told her that Olague had discussed the issue with Lee prior to Mirkarimi’s suspension.
Mirkarimi’s attorneys, David Waggoner and Shepard Kopp, requested that both Walker and Olague be subpoenaed to testify in front of the commission.
Lee also testified during the June 29 hearing that he had not offered a job to Mirkarimi via an intermediary in exchange for his resignation from office.
But former Board of Supervisors President Aaron Peskin told reporters that a third party, Walter Wong, a construction company owner, asked him to offer Mirkarimi a job on the mayor’s behalf.
Mirkarimi’s attorneys also asked for subpoenas to be issued for both Peskin and Wong.
“Two city officials have made public statements that directly contradict material testimony of Mayor Lee,” the attorneys said in their filing. “If Mayor Lee lied under oath … then the mayor’s case is utterly without merit.”
Lee issued a strong rebuke of Mirkarimi later Wednesday, calling the perjury allegations “reckless and outrageous.”
He said, “My testimony before the commission was entirely truthful and based solely on the facts. The sheriff’s current strategy to distract, misinform and misdirect the Ethics Commission, the Board of Supervisors and the public does not change that.
“It is time for the sheriff to finally and genuinely take responsibility for his own actions,” he said.
The case will return to the Ethics Commission next Wednesday, when Lopez is expected to testify.
Dan McMenamin, Bay City News