In an interview with NBC 7 on Friday, City Attorney Jan Goldsmith said his office will give embattled Mayor Bob Filner an “out” to end the political stalemate that has paralyzed City Hall.
“We’re not in this to battle Bob,” Goldsmith said. “We’ll work on terms.”
Goldsmith told NBC 7 a possible scenario could involve a global settlement of the lawsuit filed against the City and Filner by the Mayor’s former Communications Director, Irene McCormack Jackson.
Goldsmith noted that Filner faces personal financial liability should McCormack Jackson win that lawsuit. Plus, the mayor faces huge legal costs for his defense, and is now the defendant in a legal cross-complaint filed against him by the City of San Diego.
Goldsmith said all parties to that lawsuit – Filner, the city council and city attorney, McCormack Jackson and her attorney, Gloria Allred – could come to an agreement that would satisfy all parties, and perhaps erase, or at least limit, Filner’s personal liability.
Goldsmith would not say that Filner must agree to resign in return for a settlement. He emphasized that the terms and approval of any legal and political compromise rests with the city council. The City Attorney told NBC 7 that he cannot speak for the council on those issues.
But when pressed for an answer, Goldsmith did not deny that resignation is clearly the only bargaining chip Filner has left.
The City Attorney also predicted that legal, financial and political pressure will continue to mount on Mayor.
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He told NBC 7 that Filner already faces another potential legal problem: after delaying his deposition in the McCormack Jackson lawsuit because he was supposedly in treatment for his behavioral problems, it was revealed on Friday that Filner had in fact nearly finished his treatment.
Allred and the city attorney’s office could now argue that Filner intentionally mislead them in an effort to avoid answering questions under oath about his alleged harassment of McCormack Jackson.
The city attorney also told NBC 7 that Filner could face one or more additional lawsuits filed by women who claim he sexually harassed them.
“We don’t have to fight this, and it doesn’t have to be this way,” Goldsmith said of the stand-off between the Council, his office, and the Mayor. “The city right now is hurting. Bob Filner is hurting. We’re offering him an out to resolve this problem.”
NBC 7 reached out to political consultant John Dadian Friday night about the possibility of Filner actually resigning and negotiations with the City Attorney.
“The mayor’s not going to resign and just walk away. He has to have assurances there will be some type of protection and I believe that’s what the City Attorney’s working on as we speak,” Dadian told NBC 7.