Decision to charge Mirkarimi should come this week

San Francisco Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi quietly took the oath of office in a private ceremony Jan. 8, 2012.

January 11, 2012 7:01:57 PM PST
A decision is imminent over the domestic violence allegations facing San Francisco's new sheriff. The district attorney got the case last week and said Wednesday he'll decide whether to file charges before the week is out.

District Attorney George Gascon says he knows whatever decision he makes, to charge or not charge, is going to be seen as political. But he's prepared to take the heat and hopes to make an announcement either Thursday or Friday.

It's a waiting game for the sheriff at San Francisco City Hall. Just days after being sworn into office, Ross Mirkarimi is waiting to see if he'll be charged with domestic violence. A source tells ABC7 News that's likely.

But the district attorney says only that he's close to making a decision.

"We want to move quickly; the well being of the alleged victim and child is my number one concern," Gascon said.

"I've spoken personally to Mrs. Mirkarimi, she's not afraid, she's not in danger," Mirkarimi's attorney Bob Waggener said.

According to court documents, Eliana Lopez suffered a bruised arm at the hands of her husband on New Year's Eve. A video taken by a neighbor, that also includes the neighbor and Lopez talking, according to ABC7's source, as well as text messages about the incident are in the hands of investigators...

Mirkarimi's attorney says he hasn't seen that evidence but insists there was no domestic violence.

"I have an idea what happened here, I don't think a crime was committed or an offense committed," Waggener said.

The couple has characterized whatever happened as personal.

"A private matter, a family matter?taken completely out of context and completely wrong," the couple said over the weekend.

"This is a case where we do not have the cooperation of the victim; that is not unusual in domestic violence cases, in fact it's very common, so we evaluate the other evidence coming in," Gascon said.

Mayor Ed Lee was asked about the case this morning on KGO 810 and told ABC7 he's very concerned about the allegations, but wants to let the process play out.

"There might be strong feelings on many people's minds about what they see and hear; I've got to deal with the facts as to how they come out and are confirmed by the DA's office," Lee said.

According to the district attorney, there were more than 700 domestic violence cases in the city last year. From a legal standpoint he says this investigation is no different, but of course it's much more high profile.