Mirkarimi Trial: Defense Attorney Accuses Mayor Lee of Perjury

For Mayor Ed Lee, a political win looked easier than drunk college kids at a frat mixer. Ross Mirkarimi laid it right out for him: Lee could send a political adversary into professional oblivion, financial ruin, and public humiliation. He could force the progressive wing of the Board of Supervisors into choosing between voting their sheriff out of office or crafting a statement of defense that parsed the nuances of domestic violence. And all the while, he could stand proudly as a champion against, as he put it, "wife beating."

And then, as the mayor sat before a microphone at the June 29 Ethics Commission hearing, Mirkarimi's attorney Shepard Kopp twice asked if Lee had told Mirkarimi, through third-party messengers, that a city job would be his if he just resigned.

"Absolutely not," the mayor declared on the second query, abandoning his previous, professionally evasive response, "I don't recall offering Mr. Mirkarimi any job."

Lee also testified that he did not speak to any supervisors about the Mirkarimi drama before filing the misconduct charges against the sheriff.

After the hearing, former Board of Supervisors President Aaron Peskin told the Examiner that Walter Wong, big-time local developer, told him that Lee wanted Peskin to tell Mirkarimi that the city would offer him a job if he resigned. Also after the hearing, Building Inspection Commissioner Debra Walker told the press that Supervisor Christina Olague had told her that she and Lee discussed Mirkarimi's situation before removal proceedings started.

Kopp claimed perjury, an accusation that suggests that San Francisco's highest level of government can't even pull off a proper political cover-up nowadays.

Suddenly, Ed Lee became Ernest Byner, the Cleveland Browns running back whose 1987 playoff fourth-quarter goal-line fumble opened the door to John Elway's famous drive. Four points of pressure, Mr. Mayor! Two hands on the football!

To be sure, perjury is tough to nail. A prosecutor has to prove that the testimony in question was provably false and intentionally deceptive. Plus, as California penal code states, a person can't be convicted of perjury when "proof of falsity rests solely upon contradiction by testimony of a single person." Which means that subpoenaing Peskin, Olague, and Wong into the Ethics Commission hearing might not be enough to convince District Attorney George Gascón to press charges. The mayor, for the record, asserts that he told only the truth.

But damage is done. While the controversy over Lee's testimony doesn't have much to do with whether Mirkarimi should be sheriff, it has flipped the scrutiny. It's easy to spot the irony: In his attempt to oust Mirkarimi from office because of a misdemeanor conviction, the mayor has walked right into accusations that he committed a felony.

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Perhaps Shing D ought to speak in complete sentences so we can understand what she or he means.  Thankfully, in SFGate she or he hides his or her comments.


I'd like to see the citation to such a defamous statement.  I sympathize with Mirkarimi because I too have been unjustly accused, in my case of intentional deception of a federal government office at the core of my profession.  Ironically, in my mind, Mirkarimi's big mistake was to unduly rely on female lawyers' advise and cop a plea.  The second mistake was to seek trial out of town.  Whose idea was that?


Why is so hard for people to understand that it is about the "OFFICE," not the people who occupy the office.  Seems that Mirkarimi's relationship with his talented wife is more than normal by San Franciscan standards.  The people who occupy the office are us, with all our flaws.  Nobody seems to be protecting the office of the SHERIFF, except perhaps Mirkarimi and Michael Hennessey, the past sheriff.



This trial is a sham. Now the blame is being pushed on Mayor Lee since Mirkarimi has made a stink about not abusing his wife. His wife, Venezuelan beauty queen Eliana Lopez has set women's rights back decades with her refusal to stick with what happened: he hit her, it alarmed her baby, but now she is changing her story that her fear alarmed the baby and that she just bruises easy ( or did she walk into a door?) . Mayor Lee is doing what is right, Mirkarimi has a history of abuse towards women. He should be removed. He has lost the voter's confidence. How you treat your family is how you will treat your public. His wife is the biggest traitor of all. This is why abuse cases fail because of women taking back their story.

Erika McDonald
Erika McDonald like.author.displayName 1 Like

And what about that bogus bomb threat in the middle of Mayor Lee's testimony? It's a question that looms large, especially when you consider the fact that the attempt to remove Mirkarimi is supposedly about "public safety."

Shing D
Shing D

What a joke! Kopp was the suspened by the bar association for lying in court, having a client lie in court,, and stealing a client's money.

Christine Craft
Christine Craft like.author.displayName 1 Like

Two big recent political events in San Francisco where Rose Pak, Willie Brown and Mayor Lee had been invited. Who made pointed departures before the arrival of Mr. Lee? Smile knowingly, if you know the answer.

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