Mayor Ed Lee expressed rare frustration Wednesday for what he called “reckless and outrageous” claims that he lied under oath during his testimony in the official misconduct proceedings against suspended Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi.
Lee began the process of removing the newly elected sheriff from office by suspending him without pay in March, shortly after Mirkarimi pleaded guilty to a domestic violence incident against his wife. But now the already-messy affair has been complicated by allegations from multiple sources that the mayor was not truthful in his testimony when he said he never authorized third parties to offer Mirkarimi an alternative job in exchange for a resignation, and that he never discussed the suspension with members of the Board of Supervisors, which will ultimately decide if Mirkarimi is reinstated or removed permanently.
“Reckless and outrageous allegations of perjury have been made about my testimony before the Ethics Commission,” Lee said in a statement. “But my testimony before the Commission was entirely truthful and based solely on the facts. The sheriff’s current strategy to distract, misinform and misdirect the Ethics Commission, the Board of Supervisors and the public does not change that.”
Lee’s statement also reiterates the misconduct charge’s original reasoning — that Mirkarimi pleaded guilty to a crime and then “dissuaded and demonized witnesses in a domestic violence criminal investigation, and then made numerous public statements that devalued the victims of domestic violence and the seriousness of the crime.”
Meanwhile, Mirkarimi’s attorneys officially asked the Ethics Commission on Wednesday afternoon to subpoena former Board of Supervisors President Aaron Peskin, well-connected permit expediter Walter Wong, Supervisor Christina Olague and Building Inspection Commissioner Debra Walker to testify on their connection to facts in the case.
Peskin has said that Wong approached him to set up an alternative job offer for Mirkarimi, an incident that the mayor twice denied in his testimony. Walker said Olague told her that Lee asked advice of the supervisor before he pursued the official misconduct charges, another sequence of events the mayor denied in his testimony.
Olague first denied, and then declined to comment on the matter. And Wong has been publicly silent on the matter despite several calls and a visit to his San Francisco office.
The subpoena request argues that the mayor’s thought process and actions during the suspension are essential to the case.
“If it is shown that the mayor lied under oath about any material fact of this case — including possible efforts to influence the outcome of these proceedings — the political nature of this attempt to remove the sheriff would be laid bare,” the document says.
The Ethics Commission could decide at its next hearing on July 18 whether the new testimony will be heard in the case.