SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS) — Suspended Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi asked the City of San Francisco to pay for his legal bills as he faces misconduct charges. City Attorney Dennis Herrera has strongly refused.

In a letter to Herrera, Mirkarimi claimed the city’s charter allows that any department head or elected officer can be represented by an outside counsel paid for by the city attorney’s office.

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Herrera responded that not only was Mirkarimi wrong, but that his request was belated, written more than two weeks after the suspended sheriff hired his new lawyers.

KCBS’ Jeffrey Schaub Reports:

“I think it’s highly unlikely that the city will step in and somehow reimburse him,” said legal analyst and San Jose attorney Steven Clark.

Clark agreed with the city attorney and said the suspended sheriff is not accused of doing anything within the course and scope of his employment as sheriff.

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“In fact he’s accused of criminal behavior which has now led to an ethics violation,” Clark said.

Furthermore, Clark said there does not appear to be any legal theory by which Mirkarimi is entitled to be reimbursed for his legal fees.

Mirkarimi awaits a hearing before the city’s Ethics Commission, which will make a recommendation to the Board of Supervisors on whether to remove him from office or reinstate him. Mirkarimi would be removed if nine out of 11 supervisors uphold the charges.

Mirkarimi was suspended by Mayor Ed Lee after pleading guilty to false imprisonment over a New Year’s Eve incident involving wife Eliana Lopez.

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