Did San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee commit perjury?



KPFA Evening News, 07.14.2012

Attorneys for suspended San Francisco Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi have formally requested that the San Francisco Ethics Commission issue subpoenas for four witnesses whose testimony could prove allegations that San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee perjured himself at the 06.29 Commission hearing on the mayor's case for removing the sheriff from office..




KPFA Evening News Anchor Cameron Jones: Reporters, photographers, and TV crews will no doubt be surrounding San Francisco Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi’s wife Eliana Lopez when she arrives to San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee under oath, at the San Francisco Ethics Commission, 06.29.2012/. Photo courtesy Luke Thomas/Fog City Journal. testify before the San Francisco Ethics Commission this week, in hearings regarding Mayor Ed Lee’s case that her husband should be removed from office. But attention has radically shifted to perjury allegations against Mayor Lee. Building Commissioner Debra Walker and former Board of Supervisors President Aaron Peskin have both accused the mayor of lying under oath at the last Ethics Commission hearing on June 29th.

This week Sheriff Mirkarimi’s defense attorneys filed a formal request that the Ethics Commission issue subpoenas to Walker, Peskin, and two more witnesses whose testimony could substantiate their allegations. KPFA’s Ann Garrison has the story.

KPFA/Ann Garrison: At one point in his June 29th cross examination of San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee, Mirkarimi defense attorney Shepard Kopp attempted to make an issue of Lee’s credibility by questioning him about his broken promise not to use the advantage of appointed incumbency to run for mayor in the November 2011 election. Commission President Benedict Hur sustained the City Attorney’s objections and stated that the Commission was not investigating the mayor’s conduct.

However, at other points during Kopp's cross examination, Mayor Lee made statements that caused San Francisco Building Inspection Commissioner Debra Walker and former San Francisco Board of Supervisors President Aaron Peskin to accuse him of lying under oath. Walker stated that District #5 Supervisor Christina Olague told her that Lee had asked for her opinion before acting to remove Mirkarimi, which Lee denied in his sworn testimony:   

Audio from webcast hearing:

Aaron Peskin, former President of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors, says that Walter Wong met him at Caffé Trieste in North Beach, where he Wong conveyed a job offer and or promise to "take care of " Mirkarimii in exchange for his resignation.

Attorney Shepard Kopp: Moreover I"d like to ask whether he's had conversations with any members of the Board of Supervisors about whether or not he should file these charges because I think that would be highly relevant evidence about whether there was an attempt to somehow influence the very body that is going to make the ultimate  decision on this case.

​Ethics Commission President Benedict Hur: What if we allow you to ask that question? Would that . . . ?

​Attorney Shepard Kopp: Then I'll ask it.

Benedict Hur: Right, but I mean 'Will you withdraw your prior one?' 

​Shepard Kopp: I will.

​Benedict Hur: OK. 

Shepard  Kopp: Mayor Lee, before you decided to file written charges of misconduct here, did you talk to any members of the Board of Supervisors about whether or not you should do so?

Ed Lee: I did not.


KPFA: Aaron Peskin alleges that the mayor perjured himself when Shepard Kopp asked him whether he had conveyed a promise of either a city or private sector job in exchange for Mirkarimi's resignation.

Audio from webcast hearing:

Mayor Ed Lee: ​I don't . . . I don't recall offering Mr. Mirkarimi any job.

Attorney Shepard Kopp: So you never authorized, say, Aaron Peskin or Walter Wong to convey to Sheriff Mirkarimi . . .  if he would step down, you'd give him another job.

Ed Lee: Absolutely not.

Shepard Kopp: OK, thank you. I have no further questions.


KPFA: In their pleading to the Ethics Commission Defense Co-Counsel David Waggoner and Shepard Kopp state that, “If Mayor Lee lied under oath as to communications he had with Supervisor Olague, or, Mayor Lee lied under oath about offering Sheriff Mirkarimi a job in exchange for his resignation, then the Mayor’s case is utterly without merit. As the charging official in this case, the truthfulness of the Mayor’s testimony is of paramount importance.”

For Pacifica, KPFA Radio, I’m Ann Garrison.


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