Mayor releases witness list in Mirkarimi's case


Mayor Ed Lee presented a written opening brief to the Ethics Commission, accusing Mirkarimi not only of domestic violence, but of trying to keep witnesses from talking to police and Lee released the names of 16 people the city plans to call to make its case.

A document offers the first glimpse of the mayor's strategy -- it's a list of witnesses the city plans to call before the ethics commission. It includes now familiar names like Ross Mirkarimi's neighbor, Ivory Madison, who reported him to police and his former girlfriend, Christina Flores. A surprise on the list is retired Sheriff Michael Hennessey. The city claims he'll, "...testify about his communications with Sheriff Mirkarimi regarding his acts of domestic violence."

The mayor, himself, will also be a witness.

"I'll answer every question as forthright and as honest as I can in doing so, we respect the process we have in the charter," said Lee.

Also to be questioned is Mirkarimi's campaign manager Linnette Peralta Haynes. City attorneys are already targeting her in superior court. Trying unsuccessfully so far to subpoena phone records they say prove she called Madison on Mirkarimi's behalf.

When asked if city attorneys think that communication was about trying to dissuade Madison, Deputy City Attorney Peter Keith said, "At this point, that's what we believe and were interested in hearing from Ms. Haynes on her position about that."

The judge called the request for months of phone records "a fishing expedition." Haynes' attorney Eric Safire says they'll cooperate if the city narrows its scope.

"In terms of providing relevant information on the domestic violence incident, or anything like that, there's nothing to hide," said Keith. And when asked if she has any relevant information, Keith said, "She wasn't there, she's not a witness."

Mirkarimi's attorney Shepard Kopp says, "The Mayor's witness list seems designed to create a circus. I'm amazed at the sheer amount of time and money he is willing to spend in his effort to remove the sheriff."

A former member of the Ethics Commission, Paul Melbostad, says this is not the proper use of its power.

"Clearly, the domestic violence laws, the misdemeanor penal code sections are not laws within the jurisdiction of the Ethics Commission to enforce," said Melbostad.

The Ethics Commission hearing is expected to get underway at the end of the month. Next week, its Mirkarimi's turn to produce his witness list.

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