District Attorney to “Evaluate” Prosecution of Alleged Mayoral Perjury

Written by Luke Thomas. Posted in News, Politics

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Published on July 06, 2012 with 34 Comments

San Francisco District Attorney George Gascón. Photo by Luke Thomas.

By Luke Thomas

July 6, 2012

San Francisco District Attorney George Gascón signaled today his office is prepared to file criminal charges should the Ethics Commission determine Mayor Ed Lee perjured himself while providing sworn testimony in is his bid to remove suspended Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi from office.

“If the evidence surfaces that we have sworn testimony to indicate that perjury has taken place, then we will certainly evaluate whether that will be appropriate to prosecute,” Gascón said during a press conference at the Hall of Justice.  “At this point, we need to let the Ethics Commission do its work.”

“At this point, all that we have is newspaper reports and we have hearsay information that has not been subjected to cross-examination – and it is certainly not testimony that is sworn testimony.”

Allegations of perjury first surfaced June 29 when the mayor denied under direct examination by Mirkarimi defense attorney Shepard Kopp that he spoke to any members of the Board of Supervisors – the eleven-member body that will ultimately decide if Mirkarimi will keep his job – about Mirkarimi prior to suspending him.

Lee also denied he offered Mirkarimi, via an intermediary, a job in exchange for Mirkarimi’s resignation.

Both denials are being challenged and have taken center stage in the case that was triggered when Lee suspended the sheriff without pay March 20 and filed charges of official misconduct against Mirkarimi following Mirkarimi’s plea and sentencing on March 19 to one misdemeanor count of false imprisonment stemming from a heated argument with his wife, Eliana Lopez, on December 31 that resulted in a bruise on Lopez’s right arm.

Both Lopez and Mirkarimi have maintained from the outset that the zealous nature of Mirkarimi’s prosecution is politically motivated.

Perjury is considered a serious offense as it can be used to usurp judicial power resulting in miscarriages of justice.  If the allegations are proved to be true, the mayor would himself have committed official misconduct in an official misconduct case and squandered an opportunity to remove a political rival from office.

Building Inspections Commissioner Debra Walker, a Mirkarimi ally and friend to Lee-appointed District 5 Supervisor Christina Olague, told reporters that Olague told Walker that Lee sought Olague’s opinion in March as to what she thought he should do about Mirkarimi before moving to suspend him.

Walker made the claim following an abrupt adjournment of the quasi-judicial probe due to a false bomb threat following Lee’s alleged perjury.

Mayor Lee is told by SFPD security detail he has to leave the hearing due to a bomb threat. Only the mayor was evacuated from City Hall.

The non-recorded bomb threat was made to a direct number at Mission Station, police said.  No other details of the call will be made available to the public until an internal SFPD investigation has been completed.

Olague subsequently denied she had any conversations with the mayor or Walker about the Mirkarimi case, but has said she may have to recuse herself from voting on the matter.

And in the latest challenge to Lee’s credibility, former Board of Supervisors President Aaron Peskin, who called for Mirkarimi’s resignation on March 20, confirmed he was contacted March 19 by Walter Wong, a politically connected developer and former permit expediter with strong ties to Lee, to negotiate on behalf of the mayor and to offer Mirkarimi a City job in exchange for the sheriff’s resignation.

“It is true I was contacted by Walter Wong,” Peskin told the San Francisco Examiner, “and it is true he said his outreach was on behalf of the mayor.”

Walker, Olague, Peskin and Wong are each expected to be subpoenaed in the case to testify under penalty of perjury, Kopp said.

The hearing is set to resume July 18 when Lopez is expected to testify.

Luke Thomas

Luke Thomas is a former software developer and computer consultant who proudly hails from London, England. In 2001, Thomas took a yearlong sabbatical to travel and develop a photographic portfolio. Upon his return to the US, Thomas studied photojournalism to pursue a career in journalism. In 2004, Thomas worked for several neighborhood newspapers in San Francisco before accepting a partnership agreement with the SanFranciscoSentinel.com, a news website formerly covering local, state and national politics. In September 2006, Thomas launched FogCityJournal.com. The BBC, CNN, ABC, NBC, CBS, Fox News, New York Times, Der Spiegel, San Francisco Chronicle, San Francisco Magazine, 7x7, San Francisco Examiner, San Francisco Bay Guardian and the San Francisco Weekly, among other publications and news outlets, have published his work. Thomas is a member of the Freelance Unit of the Pacific Media Workers Guild, TNG-CWA Local 39521 and is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists.

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Comments for District Attorney to “Evaluate” Prosecution of Alleged Mayoral Perjury are now closed.

  1. Ann don’t be to hard on Randy he needs the support ( money) from the Mayor’s office to keep his empire going. Or in other words he is in the pay of the Mayor’s office. so he had better do every thing possible to protect the Mayor. 

  2. Delightful column in “BeyondChron, the Voice of the Rest of Us,” (us not including me.)  As the Chron’s critic for “the rest of us,” they’re now attacking Matier and Ross for questioning Mayor Lee’s integrity.  Heehee.  LOLS.  Honk honk.  Or as h. sometimes says, “Bwaaaaaaaaaaaa!!!!”  Randy Shaw thinks that Debra Walker’s integrity needs scrutiny instead, because she has political motivations, whereas the mayor’s motives are all legal and pure.

    Luke, can you ask h. to respond to this in Fog City, just so we can have a little fun?  http://www.beyondchron.org/news/index.php?itemid=10300

  3. I just saw this announcement over at the BAR site:

    Gay SF mayoral aide to address LGBT Dem club

    In San Francisco tonight, gay mayoral aide Steve Kawa
    will speak at the monthly meeting of the Alice B.
    Toklas LGBT Democratic Club.

    Kawa, who is raising two kids with partner Dan Henkle
    , has served as the chief of staff for the city’s
    last three mayors: Ed Lee, the
    current occupant of Room 200 at City Hall, Gavin Newsom
    and Willie Brown

    According to the moderate political group’s emailed notice
    about the meeting, Kawa has been invited for a “special conversation”
    about the state of the city.

    The meeting takes place from 6:30 to 8 p.m. tonight (Monday,
    July 9) at the LGBT Community Center in Room 300, 1800 Market Street at


  4. Good work, again, Luke! And thank goodness this site has a registration requirement, unlike the Guardian’s site. I’m quite over all the trolls and guests and anonymous people who carp at that site and add nothing much of value to a given thread. 

  5. The comments by CU are so funny! The entire Mayoral persecution (not prosecution) of Sheriff Mirkarimi is based on unsubstantiated hearsay by a devious and dishonest source, Madison. Her comic book bio clearly states she is a lawyer! And Lee said he was not going to run for Mayor, and then ran. He is a documented liar! Now he has committed official misconduct by not evacuating anyone but himself during a “bomb threat.” Where were the swarms of SFPD/bomb unit personnel with their bomb sniffing dogs? Where in the the emergency procedures are emergency personnel directed NOT to evacuate all living beings during a bomb threat? How could the Mayor permit hundreds of people to potentially be blown to shreds? 

  6. Godamnit. Forgot the .shtml

  7. On top of everything else I’m getting dyslexic !! One more try.

  8. “To the best of my recollection…..”
    Is Ed Lee channeling Mitt Romney.
    I will not run for that office.
    I did not speak to that woman.
    I did not offer a job to that man.
    An oldie but goodie from the vaults. Forget where Lee plugs in here, sure that h the oracle knows.
    “Pay to Play – Bay Area”

  9. I bet that DA would not do anything about Ed Lie’s lie, just like DA did nothing about Ed Lie’s campaign problems. This is just for the show only. What’s new for the SF politics?

  10. Anyone able to lip read?

    I’d really like to know what that cop said to Lee and there’s archived tape available if anyone can read lips. But, as Demogreen notes, it really doesn’t matter. Also I doubt Ethics would charge Phil Ting with any improper conduct for lowering taxes on a contributor/political ally (Asha Safai).

    Bottom line is that the conservatives have been pretty much totally in control in the City forever and now it’s just more obvious. “So, what’re you gonna do?” my favorite bartender used to say.

    Well, you can make them uncomfortable with their plundered wealth by harassing them in forums like this and in protests and the like. That won’t change the bottom line but it does screw with their buzz.

    And, have more fun yourself. That makes em jealous. Dance more. Have more sex.

    And, did I mention the Giants? I’m writing this cause they’re in a rain delay in Pittsburgh but they’re a great diversion.

    Most vulnerable person in all of this talk of perjury is Christina Olague. Hope Johnson and Julian Davis should insist Christina take a lie detector test along with Debra Walker and I’ll be glad to arrange for a video of the event.

    We can call it …

    Who’s a big ole liar?

  11. It’s nice of the DA to put on an entertaining show for us, but there’s no way that he (or Kamala Harris or Eric Holder) would go after the Mayor, no matter how much evidence comes out.   The “blue shield” is in play here.

  12. Granted it may be ‘heresay’, like much of the ‘testimony’ in these proceedings, but it’s interesting to note that the Chronicle has yet to comment on the alleged Lee>Wong>Peskin connection, whatever, it’s all just business as usual.

  13. The headline is misleading, indicating the DA is actually reviewing the filing of charges, This is false since all that exists is 3rd and 4th party hearsay. None of the bearers of info have any credibility and ALL have axes to grind with the mayor.

  14. @85b30ac9744c1f7aeeebde9acf0b6105:disqus .  You are wrong.  The article is NOT inaccurate. 

    Every single local news outlet (SF Chronicle, cbs, the guardian, and the examiner) all say that Mirakami’s lawyer Shepard Kopp “asked if the mayor had consulted with any members of the Board of
    Supervisors about the situation. The mayor replied that he had not.”
      [bay guardian]

    From the Chronicle: “If Lee really did have such a conversation with Olague, it could mean he perjured himself before the city Ethics Commission,
    which is hearing the mayor’s case seeking to bounce Mirkarimi for
    official misconduct. And any such perjury could itself amount to
    official misconduct.”

    Your saying that Lee said at the hearing that he did not discuss “filing charges” is really weasel words, and is nowhere to be substantiated except by you.  Can you prove your assertions, Janet?

    Lee is a longtime SF politician who is pursuing the Mirakami case at the expense of all else, FOR POLITICAL REASONS.  That Lee sent emissaries to the city council is accepted by all of the mainstream media.

    It’s really that simple.  Our city government is being sidetracked by a vindictive and mediocre mayor.

    • The only criminals in this scenario are ross, his lawyers, his campaign manager, and his wife! All have been proven to provide perjured testimony and declarations.

      • No they haven’t, you big fat stupid liar. You probably watch FOX.

  15. What I want to know is why they are saying the bomb threat was “non-recorded”. That seems odd to me if it came through any official channels. 

    •  It came to a non-emergency number, clearly made by a member of ross’ cult.

      • With what to gain?  Shepard Kopp was pummeling the mayor in cross examination.

      • Why would Ross’s team call in the bomb threat as Ed Lee was destroying himself? Makes no sense. Cu, you are an idiot. Just shut up.

      • and you know this for certainty HOW???

    •  What “non-recorded” means is that the bomb threat rang through on an inside phone line, one where an insider knows the phone number isn’t rigged up to record messages from the “public” and the line doesn’t record the caller. 

    •  No, not possibly from Ross team, nearly impossible. The call came through to the Mission Police Station, so it was a police insider obviously.  What “non-recorded” means is that the bomb threat rang through on an
      inside phone line, one where an insider knows the phone number isn’t
      rigged up to record messages from the “public” and the line doesn’t
      record the caller. 

  16. Unless someone corroborates Walker’s and Peskin’s unsworn statements, then we have a he said, they said situation, which would not be enough to prosecute.

    •  It’s more like 3rd and 4th party hearsay. Additionally, there is no proof it occurred; no letters, emails, voice mails, etc. It’s DEAD in the water.

      • No, it’s not third or fourth party hearsay. Peskin is a first source. So what are you talking about? Go away, please.

  17.  Your article is inaccurate.  Lee did not say he never talked to any board members about Mirkarimi.  He said he did not discuss filing charges against Mirkarimi with board members.  A fairly large distinction.  Don’t distort the facts more then absolutely necessary….

  18. Why was the second half of the mayor’s testimony not posted on SFGOVTV?

    • It was.  I downloaded both halves and keep meaning to get both on the Youtube.

  19. Oops.

  20. What is there to evaluate, Mayor Lee either perjured himself or he didn’t, if he did it’s a criminal case the DAs office has no choice but to prosecute, so what is there to evaluate?

    • Lying Lee and Gorgeous George, what a tag team. Don’t expect the D.A. to do the right thing. He’s in on the action up to his ears.

    •  With what evidence? Who goes to court on 3rd and 4th party hearsay aka 3rd grade gossip

      • I don’t think anyone expects him to do it without witness testimony under oath at ethics.  

        But it’s very hard to find a motive for Peskin to be lying about this.