SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS) – In what most would agree is a complicated political situation, San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee has indicated he planned to monitor developments before taking action in an unfolding political scandal.

The city’s newly sworn-in sheriff, Ross Mirkarimi, has been charged with three misdemeanor crimes, including battery, stemming from a New Year’s Eve domestic dispute with his wife, prosecutors announced late Friday.

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Mirkarimi faced one count each of domestic violence battery, child endangerment and dissuading a witness, according to District Attorney George Gascon.

Lee has addressed the story in a written statement only, calling the charges against Mirkarimi serious and troubling. He has offered no further comment on the matter.

KCBS’ Bob Melrose Reports:

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It remains to be seen whether Mirkarimi will request a trial on the charges or attempt to reach a plea deal with prosecutors.

“In a trial, he always has some possibility of either one juror saying that they have reasonable doubt hanging the jury or several of them coming through with reasonable doubt and acquitting him,” reasoned professor of law and Dean Emeritus at Golden Gate University, Peter Keane. “If he hangs the jury, it’s a victory because I don’t think they’d try him twice.”

If Mirkarimi pleads no contest or guilty, the sentence would likely be the same as if he went to trial and was convicted on all charges – a year of anger management classes, a $400 fine, possibly a year in jail, and/or three years’ probation.

“There’s a good trial that Mirkarimi would go ahead and go through a trial and take the chance before a jury because in many ways he doesn’t have anything to lose in regard to that, rather than taking a plea bargain and admitting guilt or taking a no-contest plea which is the same as admitting guilt,” said Keane.

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