Mayor Filner’s attorneys say he can’t get fair trial in San Diego

Mayor Bob Filner of San Diego speaks at a news conference announcing his intention to seek professional help for sexual harassment issues.
(Bill Wechter / Getty Images)

In November, Bob Filner was elected mayor of San Diego by receiving 245,092 votes.

Now his lawyers are concerned that the 70-year-old Democrat can’t find 12 people to give him a fair trial on a lawsuit accusing him of sexual harassment. His lawyers want to move the trial to Imperial County.

News coverage in San Diego County has been so “widespread, intense and, at times, even vitriolic, that Mayor Filner cannot have a fair trial in San Diego,” according to a change of venue motion filed by James Payne and Alejandro Ruiz, attorneys in the same firm as Filner’s main attorney, Harvey Berger.

Los Angeles attorney Gloria Allred, representing former Filner staffer Irene McCormack Jackson in the lawsuit, says the trial should remain in San Diego where the alleged harassment occurred.


“We believe that the case should be heard and decided by a jury of Mayor Filner’s peers,” Allred said.

The change of venue motion is set to be heard in San Diego County Superior Court on Sept. 16.

A defense motion has also been filed regarding subpoenas requiring Filner to be deposed under oath by Allred and City Atty. Jan Goldsmith. Filner’s attorneys want the subpoenas quashed and, failing that, to have the depositions delayed.

“He can delay it, but he can’t stop it,” Goldsmith said.


Filner is undergoing two weeks of behavorial therapy to learn how to treat women with respect. He is slated to return to City Hall on Aug. 19.

Besides the Jackson lawsuit, a dozen women have accused Filner of making unwanted and unpleasant sexual advances.

The latest to accuse Filner of sexual misconduct were two military veterans who told CNN that he made suggestive comments after meeting them at a conference designed to help women who have suffered sexual assault in the military.



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