SF's sheriff faces new domestic violence claim 

San Francisco's sheriff, who will stand trial next month on misdemeanor domestic violence charges stemming from a New Year's Eve dispute with his wife, is also facing a new complaint filed by a former girlfriend alleging a similar incident when the couple was dating several years prior.

Ross Mirkarimi's ex-girlfriend, Christina Flores, told police Sunday that the newly elected sheriff shoved her against a wall and bruised her arm at least three years ago, The San Francisco Chronicle reported Monday (http://bit.ly/yW2q5a ). Flores and Mirkarimi dated before the sheriff met his wife, Venezuelan former telenovela star Eliana Lopez, in 2008.

Flores, a former television talk show host, said she wanted authorities to know Mirkarimi's alleged abusive behavior was not an isolated occurrence.

"If I need to testify, I will," she told the Chronicle.

Flores said she dated Mirkarimi in 2007 and 2008 and he went on verbal tirades several times, "throwing tantrums, yelling in your face."

But she said his anger turned physical only once. She said she didn't remember details about the argument that led to the alleged attack, but she recalled that her left arm was bruised.

"He never punched me, never hit me," Flores told the newspaper. "But he grabbed my arm and pushed me against the wall, yelling. This person is very much a pit bull and a bully."

Mirkarimi's attorney, Robert Waggener, said Monday that he had only just heard about the report and had not had a chance to talk to his client.

The Chronicle reported it is doubtful any charges would be filed based on Flores' report because the statute of limitations likely has expired. But her testimony could be used in Mirkarimi's upcoming trial on the allegations involving his wife.

Prosecutors say Mirkarimi, 50, bruised Lopez's arm in the New Year's Eve confrontation.

A judge on Monday set a Feb. 24 trial date for Mirkarimi, who had requested a speedy trial. He said he wanted to reunite soon with his wife and 2-year-old son, whom he's prohibited from contacting until the case is resolved.

Lopez had the injury recorded on video by a neighbor who reported it to authorities, according to a police affidavit. But Lopez has publically defended her husband, saying the incident was taken out of context and that she has no complaint against him.

The sheriff has pleaded not guilty to misdemeanor charges of domestic violence battery, child endangerment and dissuading a witness.

Mirkarimi did not speak at a court hearing Monday, where the judge also set a pretrial hearing for Feb. 16.

Outside court, Waggener called it "one of the more overblown cases I have seen in 28 years," citing the amount of publicity surrounding the case and the quality of evidence against his client.

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