SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) – An evidentiary hearing held Friday to determine whether an ex-girlfriend of San Francisco Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi can testify in his upcoming trial on domestic violence charges was continued to Monday because Mirkarimi’s defense attorney had to leave for a prior commitment, a court spokeswoman said.
Mirkarimi, 50, has pleaded not guilty to domestic violence battery, child endangerment and dissuading a witness charges—all misdemeanors – in connection with a Dec. 31 incident in which he allegedly bruised the arm of his wife, Eliana Lopez, during an argument.
Lopez has denied the charges against her husband, but prosecutors plan to use a 55-second video recorded by the couple’s neighbor Ivory Madison that reportedly shows Lopez pointing to the bruise and crying while recounting the incident.
Days after the charges were filed against Mirkarimi on Jan. 13, Christina Flores, an ex-girlfriend of his, filed a police report saying he was also abusive to her when they dated between June 2007 and December 2008.
During a pre-trial hearing earlier this week, Judge Garrett Wong ordered Flores, who lives in Southern California, to come to San Francisco for an in-camera meeting with the judge so he could determine whether to allow her to testify.
Flores apparently came into the courtroom from a back door Friday morning and was meeting privately with Wong, district attorney’s office spokesman Omid Talai said.
There was not enough time to complete the evidentiary hearing with Flores Friday morning because Mirkarimi’s defense attorney Lidia Stiglich had to leave for a prior commitment, court spokeswoman Ann Donlan said. The hearing will continue at 1 p.m. Monday, Donlan said.
Prosecutor Elizabeth Aguilar-Tarchi said during the pre-trial hearing Monday that Flores should be allowed as a witness. Aguilar-Tarchi said Flores described Mirkarimi as a “Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde” whose aggressive actions “in many instances mirror the current case.”
Stiglich argued that testimony from Flores should not be admissible in the trial, which is expected to start next week, saying she never reported any of the alleged abuse to authorities until now, and that there is no one to corroborate her accusations.
Jury selection in the trial is expected to start Monday morning. Wong said to potential jurors earlier this week that he expects the trial to last no more than two weeks.
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