San Diego’s Mayor Bob Filner may have asked the citizens of San Diego to be patient while he undergoes behavioral therapy for the undiagnosed illness that causes him to disrespect women but he doesn’t want them to serve on a jury of his peers. NBC 7's Gene Cubbison reports.
San Diego’s Mayor Bob Filner may have asked the citizens of San Diego to be patient while he undergoes behavioral therapy for the undiagnosed illness that causes him to disrespect women but he doesn’t want them to serve on a jury of his peers.
Through his attorney, San Diego’s Mayor Bob Filner has asked for a change of venue in the sexual harassment lawsuit from an ex-employee who accuses him of treating women like “sexual objects or stupid idiots.”
Filner’s attorney Harvey Berger filed the motion asking the case be moved to Imperial County on the same day that Filner's former communications director filed a lawsuit suing him and the City of San Diego for "numerous instances of sexual harassment".
Berger claims Filner cannot get a fair trial in San Diego due to the "intense, unrelenting and widespread" news coverage of allegations involving unwanted sexual advances committed by his client.
Local television stations provided live coverage of the July 22 news conference announcing the McCormack Jackson lawsuit.
She made a statement detailing her allegations. Among them, a meeting with Filner in June that ended with the mayor telling her “I am infatuated with you. When you are you going to get naked?”
When she insisted the mayor leave her office, he allegedly told her that she could not ask him to leave because he was the mayor according to court documents.
Her attorney Gloria Allred issued a statement on Wednesday saying the Mayor of San Diego should be judged by the people of San Diego.
Filner gave several television interviews after the filing of the McCormack Jackson lawsuit and released a videotaped statement in which he admitted to disrespecting women and at times intimidating them.
"I only ask that you give me an opportunity to prove I am capable of change, so that the vision I have for our city’s future can be realized," he said at the time.
On July 26, he announced he would seek behavioral therapy to work on the issues brought up by his former employee and more than 10 other women in San Diego.
The women including a university dean, a school psychologist, a former campaign worker and a retired Navy admiral have come forward with stories of unwanted sexual advances.
The mayor's office has not disclosed the location of the treatment center or what disorder or behavior for which Filner is seeking treatment.
When NBC 7 posed the fair-trial issue Wednesday to more than a dozen people serving jury duty and passersby at downtown Hall of Justice , there was general agreement that a change of venue would be in order -- with men taking the opposite point of view to a greater extent than women.
"Everybody knows what's going on with him -- how can anybody be fair and just?" North Park resident Jennifer Nicola asked, rhetorically. "News travels. So we have the internet, we have the TV, and we have newspapers so I'm pretty sure everybody's heard of him in the state of California."
Said Ocean Beach resident Ron Herndon: “I have opinion, but I would listen to everything that's said in court -- objectively."
Asked if he thought it more likely that more impartial jurors would be found in Imperial than San Diego County, Herndon replied: "Well, there's so much news here in San Diego about it, it could be tainting the pool. More so than there, I would assume."
Mike Keough, who counts Filner among his neighbors at a residential high-rise downtown, said it’s not impossible that a fair trial could be held in San Diego.
"If they can find an unbiased jury for the Zimmerman trial or something like that, they could definitely do it for Bob Filner,” he reasoned. “I don't think it's going to go to court, though. But we'll see."