By Kat Anderson
January 23, 2012
In a brief appearance today before Judge John Allen at the Hall of Justice, Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi and his attorney, Robert Waggener, agreed to a February 24 trial date. Mirkarimi faces charges that he physically abused his wife, Eliana Lopez, in front of their son on New Year’s Eve and then told her not to tell anyone.
Mirkarimi and Lopez deny any wrongdoing.
Lopez, 36, did not attend the hearing. A “stay away” order prevents Mirkarimi from coming within 100 yards of his wife and son.
Normally not one to be at a loss for words, Mirkarimi silently kept his head down as he cut his way through a mash of media into the courtroom. A supporter and friend of 11 years, Kary McElroy, had some choice words, however.
“The real travesty here is what the courts and the press are doing, saying that a person is guilty when they’re innocent. What they are doing to Sheriff Mirkarimi in this court is a travesty. He’s a good man,” McElroy said.
When asked how Mirkarimi’s family is doing, McElroy said, “Every night his son, Theo, asks for ‘Daddy.’ This is tearing the family apart, doing more damage than good. Isn’t it supposed to be the exact opposite of what family court is about?”
McElroy, displaying her “Ross for Sheriff” T-shirt, went on to say, “I absolutely believe it’s politically motivated, because Ross is standing for the people, the disenfranchised, and the power brokers of this city want to eliminate all liberals and make this for the rich only.”
When questioned, McElroy could not specify who the “power brokers” are, but she went on to say, “He won a race and now they’re sore losers.”
After the pro forma trial setting hearing, Waggener escorted Mirkarimi to an exit and then made a statement. “I ask that everybody honor the presumption of innocence now that a trial date has been scheduled,” he said. “I will say now that I have had a chance to review the materials that have been provided to me — it’s one of the more overblown cases I’ve seen in the 28 years I have been in the building.” Specifically, Waggener commented that the case is overblown in terms of the “investigation, the publicity and the amount of evidence that exists.”
“But, we’ll proceed to trial and we’ll be ready for it,” Waggener concluded.
A pre-trial conference will be held on February 16, 2012 at 2:30 pm in Department 24. Mirkarimi has been ordered to appear along with his lawyer.
Second woman files complaint
In a separate but related development, it is being reported today that a second woman has come forward to file a complaint against Mirkarimi, alleging Mirkarimi in December 2008 used physical force against her. The complainant, Christina Flores, filed the complaint with Northern Police Station over the weekend.
Luke Thomas contributed to this report.