New documents obtained by NBC 7 show that San Diego Mayor Bob Filner was approached by his staff about sexual harassment allegations weeks before he was publicly accused of acting inappropriately toward women.
Special Section: Mayor Under Fire
The handwritten documents reveal that there was a serious discussion about staff resignations, sexual harassment allegations and the mayor's behavior on June 20 and 29.
The notes were released after the city attorney's office threatened to sue the mayor's chief of staff, Lee Burdick, who had refused to give copies of the documents to the media, claiming "attorney-client" privilege.
In the notes, former communications director Irene McCormack Jackson, former Chief of Staff Vince Hall and former Deputy Chief of Staff Allen Jones discuss low morale in the mayor’s office and call Filner's behavior “unacceptable.”
The notes also show that Jones gives the mayor an ultimatum, saying that if Filner doesn’t change Jones will quit.
Jones, Hall and Jackson all left the mayor's office shortly after these meetings took place. McCormack later filed a civil suit against Filner, accusing him of sexual harassment.
The sexual harassment allegations against Filner are now under review by criminal investigators.
On Monday afternoon, the state Attorney General's Office and San Diego County Sheriff's Department questioned McCormack, who entered the attorney general’s building with her high-profile attorney Gloria Allred, who specializes in women's rights cases.
Allred wants Filner, who's in behavior therapy for two weeks, to give depositions in the case.
"I think this is unprecedented, for this many women coming forward against the mayor of a major city,” Allred said. “And I don't think that the end is in sight. I'm sure that it isn't.”
The allegations of sexual harassment that McCormack has leveled include grabbing her in a headlock and trying to kiss her, suggesting she might do a better job if she came to work without underwear on.
And legal analysts say it's possible they're looking into whether those purported acts arise to the level of criminal sexual assault. Either way, there's now potential for Filner to claim Fifth Amendment protection against testifying in the civil case, because he's under law enforcement scrutiny.
Allred said Filner first has to show up for the deposition on Aug. 9 before he could "plead the fifth." She also said if he doesn't show up, he could be subject to contempt of court.
In the meantime, Allred and McCormack are waiting to hear from Filner's privately retained civil attorney regarding their next move.