SAN DIEGO - After an all-day session aimed at settling a sexual harassment lawsuit against Mayor Bob Filner, plaintiff’s attorney Gloria Allred said Monday that mediation is “ongoing” and being supervised by a retired federal judge.
Allred declined to discuss details, specifically whether Filner’s resignation is being discussed as a condition of settling the lawsuit filed on behalf of his former director of communications, Irene McCormack Jackson.
After 5 p.m, Allred and Jackson emerged together from the session at an office building several blocks from City Hall. The mediation is being supervised by retired judge J. Lawrence Irving.
A spokesman for City Atty. Jan Goldsmith declined to comment on the mediation.
Goldsmith has said he expects Filner to resign or be recalled and that he is preparing “exit” options for the embattled mayor. The Jackson lawsuit seeks unspecified damages from Filner and the city.
When Filner announced he would undergo two weeks of intensive behavioral therapy, he said he would return to City Hall on Aug. 19 ready to be “the best mayor I can.”
Instead, Filner was spotted Monday entering a downtown office building for the mediation session. Two City Council members, President Todd Gloria and President Pro-Tem Kevin Faulconer, were also seen going into the building.
The 70-year-old Democrat has refused demands from all nine council members, and numerous members of the the Democratic Party in Sacramento and Washington, to resign as mayor.
As the mediation session continued, supporters of Filner held a rally and news conference outside City Hall. Kathleen Harmon, a longtime supporter, told a small crowd that, “We’re going to stand behind him. We ask him not to resign.”
Rally organizer Enrique Morones, an activist on the issue of immigrant rights, ended the rally with the call, “Bob, get back to mayoring. We love you.”
Sixteen women have accused Filner of sexual harassment, including three city employees, two military veterans, a retired Navy admiral, a nurse, two singers, two business executives and two college officials. The harassment, they said, included unwanted touching and inappropriate sexual comments.
A movement began Sunday to gather enough signatures to force a recall election. Former Councilman Carl DeMaio, who lost to Filner in the November election, announced Monday that he will assist the signature-gathering campaign and urged members of the City Council to do the same.