Mirkarimi's wife blames opponents for charges

San Francisco Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi, right, and his wife Eliana Lopez walk away after speaking to reporters at City Hall in San Francisco, Friday, Jan. 13, 2012. A prosecutor says he has charged San Francisco's newly sworn-in sheriff with misdemeanors, including domestic violence, related to a New Year's Eve incident with his wife. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)

January 18, 2012 8:16:06 PM PST
San Francisco's newly elected Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi is scheduled to appear in court Thursday on domestic violence charges. But his alleged victim, his wife, continues to insist he's innocent and now she's taken to the airwaves to talk about the case.

It was a nearly 20 minute interview with Venezuela's Noticias 24 Radio., where Eliana Lopez is from. At times Lopez was quite emotional, insisting her husband is a victim of, in her wordsm "very dirty politics."

Despite accusations of domestic abuse, Lopez stood by her husband's side when he was sworn in as sheriff earlier this month. At the time, she said the alleged incident "was taken completely out of context."

Now she has gone even further in a lengthy interview with a Spanish language radio station in her native Venezuela, describing the charges as "political persecution."

"Ross Mirkarimi is a progressive who isn't backed by the power brokers in California," Lopez said. "There's people with a lot of money behind this political fight. The richest people in California are behind all this. They can't stand that a progressive with very little money won the campaign for sheriff."

Investigators say Lopez confided in Ivory Madison, a neighbor and reportedly a Mirkarimi campaign supporter.

According to court documents, Lopez told Madison she was abused during an argument on New Year's Eve and had her take pictures of a bruised arm.

In the radio interview, Lopez questions Madison's reasons for eventually calling the police.

"We must find out what her motives are and who's backing her," Lopez said. "And that's what the lawyers and investigators will do. She waited four days to report this. We want to know who she talked to in those four days that convinced her to call the police."

Court documents say Mirkarimi yelled "F--- you! F--- you!" when Lopez told him she wanted to visit Venezuela with their son. Now his wife denies there was any yelling.

ABC7 legal analyst Dean Johnson believes Lopez is trying to sway the court of public opinion.

"I think there is a little bit of trying this case in the mediagong on here; to a certain extent Eliana is trying to condition the jury pool to accept the story she's saying now," Johnson said.

But what Lopez is saying now will be stacked against the video the neighbor took, the conversation she recorded with Lopez and the text messages between them if the case goes to trial.

Ivory Madison has been unavailable for comment.