Famed attorney Gloria Allred and City Attorney Jan Goldsmith speak with NBC 7's Gene Cubbison about embattled Mayor Bob Filner and his alleged misconduct towards women.
The women's rights crusader's who's providing much of the momentum toward efforts to oust Mayor Bob Filner is weekending in San Diego.
On Sunday, attorney Gloria Allred will headline a march on City Hall to launch a recall petition campaign.
A legal nightmare for powerful men she believes have trampled on women’s rights, Allred shared her thoughts on ‘All Things Filner’ during a Friday recording session for the Sunday edition of NBC 7’s “Politically Speaking” public affairs program.
"I don't like what the mayor of San Diego has been doing to employees and other women -- sexually harassing them,” the Los Angeles-based Allred said of her newfound high-profile in San Diego. “So it's my honor and privilege to come down here and do whatever I can to stop the mayor from hurting women."
During a downtown news conference Thursday, Allred introduced a third Filner she’s representing.
Peggy Shannon, 67, a great-grandmother and part-time city worker, claims the mayor offended her with kisses on the lips, hand-holding, and boasts about to his sexual stamina – later telling her not to talk about all that.
"He needs to be accountable, because the main point is that we need to protect women, and we also need to prevent harm to other women in the future,” Allred said, “I think that women are at great risk around Bob Filner. Especially if they're employees at City Hall."
Joining Allred in in the discussion, to be televised at 9 a.m. Sunday following NBC’s “Meet the Press,” was San Diego City attorney Jan Goldsmith.
“We’re seeking justice too,” Goldsmith said. “The city of San Diego stands with our employees, and we’re going to protect them and make sure they have an environment in the city that is pleasant to work with, but certainly not hostile.”
Goldsmith is targeting Filner for removal under a Charter section barring "misuse of city funds".
If the Council green-lights his case, it'll go to a judge for a "due process" hearing.
The city attorney also is offering the mayor "a way out" of his predicament in exchange for his resignation.
Goldsmith would not specify a drop-dead date for Filner to accept it, but indications are that the offer would be off the table once a removal case goes to court.
Allred – who represents former Filner communications director Irene McCormack Jackson in a sexual harassment suit – said it’s too early to talk about whether she and her client would take part in any so-called “global settlement” of Filner’s legal problems, by Goldsmith and other authorities investigating the mayor on criminal-law fronts.
She scoffs at Filner's bid to transfer the McCormack Jackson case against him to Imperial County.
"He is the mayor of San Diego,” she said. “ He committed those acts of sexual harassment -- we allege, against my client Irene -- in City Hall in the city of San Diego. And we have confidence that a San Diego jury can be fair and impartial."
She also took issue with Filner defenders who say resignation demands and recall efforts should have waited until he gets "due process”: "He can have his due process if he wants to fight the lawsuit. It's going to cost him a lot of money. It's going to cost him a lot of time. But most of all, it's going to hurt the people of San Diego because if he continues in office, then they're at risk.”
Nearly three weeks after he purportedly enrolled in behavior therapy, Filner is still off the news media's radar.
Skeptics wonder if the therapy had a remedial effect on his personality -- and whether has undiagnosed neurological or psychiatric problems.
"With all due respect, I don't care what problems he has,” Allred said in a follow-up, on-camera interview in NBC 7’s newsroom once the “Politically Speaking” recording session wrapped up. “ I do care about the problems of my clients, the women that he's hurt. And they need to have justice.”
Allred then turned to address the camera directly, and delivered this message to Filner: "Mayor Filner, you can run. But you can't hide from the people of San Diego. They will win justice. I'm confident of that. Help them. The sooner, the better."
For the record, Filner was extended an invitation to appear in a separate segment on "Politically Speaking" as well.
There was no response from aides in the mayor’s office, nor private attorneys representing himself in the sexual harassment suit – to whom Filner aides have been referring media inquiries and requests.