Prosecutors sought Tuesday to admit a prior girlfriend’s testimony in the domestic violence case against Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi in an attempt to show a pattern of abusive behavior.
Mirkarimi, 50, has pleaded not guilty to misdemeanor charges of domestic violence battery, child endangerment and dissuading a witness in connection with an alleged New Year’s Eve incident in which his wife Eliana Lopez sustained a bruised arm. Both Mirkarimi and Lopez have publicly denied there was any abuse.
In a court filing Tuesday, prosecutor Elizabeth Aguilar Tarchi asked to admit evidence at Mirkarimi’s trial that a prior girlfriend, Christina Flores, suffered similar abuse as alleged against Lopez. Flores and Mirkarimi dated between 2007 and 2008, when the sheriff was a supervisor.
A trial judge will determine later whether to allow the evidence.
“Ms. Flores' claims are completely false,” Mirkarimi’s attorney Lidia Stiglich responded Tuesday. “Sheriff Mirkarimi has not committed an act of domestic violence against anyone, period. We look forward to proving the same in court."
Flores came forward to police after charges were filed in the current case, describing Mirkarimi’s “volatile” mood swings, alternating between “very friendly” and “extremely aggressive and manipulative,” Tarchi wrote.
The former girlfriend described an episode at Mirkarimi’s home in which he grabbed her arm “very hard” and pushed her up against a wall, resulting in a bruise on her arm, Tarchi said. Flores alleged that Mirkarimi came at her “like a pit bull” while swearing, and that she felt the need to leave the home in the early-morning hours, Tarchi said.
Mirkarimi typically “took his rage out on her” when he received “bad press or a setback at work,” Tarchi said of Flores’ account.
Although the alleged conduct against Flores can’t be charged because of the statute of limitations, Tarchi said it “bore striking similarities” to the alleged abuse against Lopez and pointed to “a common pattern of domestic violence towards women.”
Mirkarimi’s trial is scheduled to begin Feb. 24.