Documents show how Mirkarimi scandal erupted

June 27, 2012 12:00:00 AM PDT
Suspended San Francisco Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi is preparing for one of the biggest days of his life. Thursday, he will testify before the ethics commission in a desperate attempt to keep his job after pleading guilty to a misdemeanor domestic violence charge. Wednesday, he talked to the ABC7 News I-Team about the aggressive stand he's taking in the case that could make or break his career.

The I-Team obtained dozens of documents from the criminal case against Mirkarimi that show how and why the scandal erupted so quickly.

Mirkarimi says he's ready for his testimony before the ethics commission. He faces charges of "official misconduct" after pleading guilty to a misdemeanor domestic violence count. He admitted grabbing his wife's arm, causing a bruise.

"I've been living this every single day for over six months; in some ways, I'm a bit battle trained if you will, so I am very much looking forward to this because I haven't had an opportunity in this kind of forum, in this kind of medium and taking the stage where I'm able to explain from the beginning to where they want me to go," Mirkarimi said.

And now, his defense team is stepping up the criticism of next door neighbor, Ivory Madison, who reported the incident to police against the wishes of Mirkarimi's wife, Eliana Lopez.

Madison is a publisher and comic book author; she calls "The Huntress" her "feminist-mafia-noir graphic novel."

"Madison writes on the back, 'the line between justice and vengeance is a thin one' and one has to really begin to wonder, what's happening here? Is this case really based on fact or is it based on fiction," Mirkarimi's attorney David Waggoner said.

The I-Team has obtained dozens of emails written by Madison. She produced them in response to a subpoena during the criminal case. They are heavily redacted, but it was possible to piece together new details from what was not blacked out.

The day after the argument New Year 's Eve, Madison convinces Lopez to document the bruise on video. Madison writes to an unidentified friend, "She let me take a video of her crying and showing the bruise.'

In an email she wrote the same day they shot the video, Lopez never mentions going to police; in fact, she tells Madison, "Please send me the inf[o] from your therapist. Looks like Ross is doing research too."

In the days to follow, Madison sent out long missives to people whose names have been blacked out, apparently embellishing what happened.

Lopez told the I-Team the bruise happened when Mirkarimi briefly grabbed her arm inside the family van and the argument stopped there, but Madison writes, "Ross .... was being violent enough with her that she wound up running out of the house and saying to him in the street, 'Do you want me to call the police?' in front of numerous passersby."

"All these stories about pushing, grabbing, all that thing that I was running outside, that is not true, that never happened actually when?" Lopez told the I-Team's Dan Noyes on May 19 during an exclusive interview.

Dan Noyes: "Where'd that come from?"
"I don't know, it's the imagination of someone," Lopez said.

The documents also show that Madison's husband provided his phone to police so they could see his text messages about the incident. But, there's a gap -- no messages on the crucial days -- Jan. 1, when his wife made the bruise video, through Jan. 5.

"It calls into question what are they not telling us, who else was involved? What exactly was the nature of what they were up to and what they are up to," Waggoner said.

All issues to be taken up, at the ethics commission Thursday evening.

Dan Noyes: "I wonder if your mind has gone here, what will you do if you lose your job?"

"Well, I'll get back to you on what Plan B or Plan C is, but I was elected by the people of San Francisco. I'm determined to fulfill what I was elected to do," Mirkarimi said.

The I-Team reached out to Madison and her husband, but heard back from their lawyer who said no one would be available to comment Wednesday.


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