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Ethics commissioners rule out some evidence in Mirkarimi case

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Ross Mirkarimi during the opening arguments of the hearings at the Ethics Commission in City Hall in San Francisco. - GODOFREDO VASQUEZ/SPECIAL TO THE S.F. EXAMINER
  • Godofredo Vasquez/Special to the S.F. Examiner
  • Ross Mirkarimi during the opening arguments of the hearings at the Ethics Commission in City Hall in San Francisco.

Hearings into whether suspended Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi will be permanently removed from office crept forward Tuesday night as commissioners narrowed the scope of admissible evidence, striking significant portions of the statement by a key prosecution witness.

The Ethics Commission and attorneys on both sides of the case spent most of the evening dissecting written statements from witnesses, and eliminating portions considered not relevant or complete hearsay. They included neighbors who spoke with Mirkarimi’s wife Eliana Lopez about the alleged abuse, and Mirkarimi’s campaign manager, whom The City claims tried to convince one of the neighbors not to report the Dec. 31 incident to police.

The five commissioners took dozens of separate votes on the admissibility of various statements submitted in evidence, striking significant portions of the statement by key prosecution witness Ivory Madison. Commissioner Paul Renne called much of Madison’s statement inadmissible and highly prejudicial.

The commission also voted not to hear evidence from police who say that Mirkarimi may have lied about how many guns he owned and where they were in his home, when the sheriff was hit with an emergency restraining order upon his arrest.

The commission hasn’t yet decided whether to allow the playing of a video of Lopez, crying and showing a bruise on her arm.

The sheriff and the mayor who wants him gone won’t testify until next week. Mirkarimi is expected to testify Thursday or Friday, and Mayor Ed Lee also possibly on Friday.

The administrative hearings, which may not conclude for weeks, will end with a recommendation from the five-member Ethics Commission to the Board of Supervisors about whether Mirkarimi’s misdemeanor conviction for the false imprisonment of his wife in a Dec. 31 domestic violence incident, as well as his alleged impeding of the investigation, constitute what Lee deems official misconduct.

Lee separately told reporters earlier in the day that the main issue, for him, was that The City cannot have a top law enforcement official who “engaged in the beating of his wife.”

Mirkarimi later responded that the mayor was “resorting to sensationalism and smear.”

aburack@sfexaminer.com

Bay City News contributed to this report.