In the latest of a string of pre-trial successes for prosecutors, a San Francisco Superior Court appellate panel ruled today that a video of Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi's wife describing how he physically abused her can be admitted as evidence in Mirkarimi's domestic-violence trial.
As the San Francisco Chronicle reports, the ruling was a crucial victory for the office of District Attorney George Gascón. The video is the sole direct evidence that Mirkarimi physically abused his wife, Eliana Lopez, during an argument on New Year's Eve. Without it, the chances of a conviction would have diminished significantly.
Mirkarimi allegedly grabbed and shook Lopez, leaving a bruise on her arm, in the presence of the couple's 2-year-old son. He has been charged with misdemeanor domestic violence, child endangerment, and dissuading a witness.
Mirkarimi's lawyer, Lidia Stiglich, had argued that the videotape of Lopez was inadmissible because it was guarded by attorney-client confidentiality. Ivory Madison, a neighbor of Mirkarimi and Lopez who took the video, attended law school but is not a practicing attorney.
After displaying her bruise and describing the alleged physical abuse to Madison, Lopez later recanted and has refused to cooperate with police and prosecutors.
Another victory for prosecutors came earlier this week, when Superior Court Judge Garrett Wong ruled that a former girlfriend of Mirkarimi, Christina Flores, can testify about what she says was similar abuse committed against her.
Jury selection continues in Mirkarimi's case.
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