Eliana Lopez continued her testimony last night, where she denied that her husband, Ross Mirkarimi, abused her during the couple's domestic dispute on New Year's Eve, which ultimately led to Mirkarimi's suspension as the county sheriff.
In her testimony, she detailed the New Year's Eve argument in which Mirkarimi bruised her arm. Here's some of what Deputy City Attorney Peter Keith managed to squeeze out of Lopez amid the at-times combative banter, the interruptions, and the sighs tossed between the prosecutor and the witness:
her Facebook page and tried to stop sending e-mails and text messages.
"We were so scared that someone was the Big Brother around," she said,
"and watching all of this -- it turns out it was right."
Madison allegedly asked her to appear "disheveled" for a video they made
together the morning of Jan. 1 in which Lopez is seen crying and pointing to the bruise Mirkarimi gave her.
The police obtained this video, which became the focal point of the Mirkarimi case, after Madison was served with a search warrant. Mirkarimi was arrested on Jan. 13, just a few days after he was sworn in as the county sheriff. He was charged with battery and child endangerment. In March, he took a plea deal, where prosecutors dropped all charges in exchange for Mirkarimi's guilty plea to false imprisonment.
However, last night, there were some discrepancies in Lopez's testimony. When Keith asked her about the video shot by
Ivory Madison, in which Lopez points to her bruise and said that was
the second time this has happened, she told him everything said in the video was
true. But then she later clarified that the alleged "second time" to
which she had referred was when she and her husband discussed divorce.
Lopez said she cried in the video because she was worried about losing custody of her
son, Theo. At this point in her testimony, she started to cry.
Right about the time this video was made, Madison
and Lopez were just beginning to get chummy. The day the video was made allegedly began as
a cookie-making, New-Year's-resolution rendezvous, and it snowballed into
a "disaster." While at Madison's apartment, Lopez said she learned that
"Madison is in therapy" for anger issues. Hearing this, Lopez decided to share her own stories, and told Madison about the New Year's Eve fight and showed her the bruise.
Lopez thought Madison had experience
as an attorney and wanted the phone number of her therapist.
However,Lopez stuck to her story about Linnette Haynes, Mirkarimi's campaign manager who got involved in the drama, worried that the story would make its way into the press. Mayor Ed Lee argued
that Mirkarimi used Haynes to do damage
control and prevent the information from leaking in public. But
Lopez denied that Haynes interfered with
witnesses. What really happened, Lopez said, is that she went to Haynes to ask about the nature of
domestic violence, and to ask for recommendations for marriage therapy.
Lopez traveled from her native country of Venezuela to testify before the Ethics
Commission in City Hall. She and her son have been in
Venezuela since March, which she claims is only so she can support herself and Theo since Mirkarimi remains suspended without pay.
That New Year's Eve argument snowballed into Mirkarimi's arrested and misdemeanor criminal conviction. He's not been allowed to see or speak to his wife since March, per a court-issued restraining order. To cap it off, Mayor Ed Lee then suspended the sheriff without pay after Mirkarimi refused to resign. Now, the mayor is attempting to get Mirkarimi removed from office permanently, charging him with official misconduct.
The Ethics Commission will make a recommendation about the official misconduct charge by Aug. 16. That recommendation will go to the Board of Supervisors, which will have the final say over Mirkarimi's political fate.
In other news from last night, the Commission panel denied to issue subpoenas that could have
helped determine if the Mayor Lee committed perjury when he testified under
Ethics Commission Chairman Ben Hur claimed that this testimony would not
be useful for the Commission's decision on Mirkarimi, and Commissioner Paul Renne agreed that this issue does not pertain to the
mission of this hearing.
"That is a matter for the DA," said Hur. "It's a criminal action and not
something that we can decide.... The issue is too collateral for it to