Judge greenlights Mirkarimi ethics hearings


Mirkarimi has been in the McAllister Street courthouse for the past two days. On Thursday, he lost his court challenge to remove the city attorney's office from the suspension proceedings and on Friday, he asked the judge to stop the entire preceding and reinstate him as sheriff. He lost, again.

Mirkarimi's lawyer, David Waggoner, argued that the charges of misconduct on New Year's Eve, during which his client bruised his wife's arm, happened before he was sworn-in as sheriff. Waggoner said the suspension was unconstitutionally vague since the incident was not related to his official duties as sheriff. However, Judge Harold Kahn ruled that those questions should be raised before the ethics commission and the supervisors. He said, "It is a (city) charter that has accorded elected officials whether another elected official can remain in office. I shall not pull the plug on that process."

Deputy City Attorney Sherri Kaiser said she's looking forward to Mirkarimi's testimony at the hearings. "This is the first time that Sheriff Mirkarimi is going to be required to answer under oath the charges that have been made against him," she said.

Mayor Lee is also expected to testify before the ethics commission. The two differ on what happened on the day before Lee suspended Mirkarimi, the day they met privately in the mayor's office. Both agree that the mayor started by saying he was giving Mirkarimi 24 hours to resign or he would suspend him. Mirkarimi says he asked him, "Why?"

"How did you arrive at this position? You don't even know what had happened. Would you like to hear my story? And, the mayor was mute or he changed the subject," Mirkarimi said.

But the mayor's recollection of what happened is this: "Someone tells you they want to tell you something. You say OK. You wait for them to tell you what it is. Sheriff Mirkarimi didn't do that," Kaiser said.

Mirkarimi was also suspended without pay and on Friday, the judge denied his motion to get his salary back. The judge has given the go-ahead for the ethics commission to begin its proceedings starting on Monday.

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