If Mayor Lee lied

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What’s going to happen to Mayor Ed Lee?

That’s the big question after a series of news reports have suggested that the mayor was less-than truthful under oath in his statements to the Ethics Commission. If he actually lied on the stand, that would be considered perjury, which is a felony.

But the reality is that the mayor’s not going to jail. First of all the District Attorney’s Office would have to investigate and file charges -- and does anyone really think this DA, George Gascon, is going to subpoena Walter Wong and demand that he talk under oath about his interactions with Lee (who is a close friend)? I think Gascon ought to do it; there’s clear evidence that a crime may have been committed, and the public has a right to know about it, but I suspect that will never happen.
And even if the DA pushed, and Wong told the truth, and the truth contradicted the mayor, would a jury believe Wong over Lee?

It’s really hard to prove perjury. Maybe one of Lee’s staffers talked to Wong and the mayor wasn’t directly involved. Maybe the recollections of the two men have faded in the past few months. Maybe the mayor’s defense would be able to throw up enough chaff that nobody in the courtroom could figure it out.

So it’s not going to be about a criminal case against the mayor. But the revelations of what’s gone down here go far beyond any possible perjury indictment.

For starters, Ross Mirkarimi’s lawyers have every right and responsibility to demand that the Ethics Commission members hear from Debra Walker, Walter Wong, and -- I would argue -- every member of the Board of Supervisors. Here’s why:

The crux of Mirkarimi’s legal case at Ethics is that the mayor had no grounds to remove him from office -- and that Lee never gave Mirkarimi due process or a chance to explain himself. The way the suspended sheriff tells it, the mayor never asked for an explanation of what happened that New Year’s Eve, never tried to talk to Eliana Lopez -- never, in short, did any investigation into the incident before deciding the file misconduct charges (except for talking to Ivory Madison).

The way the mayor tells it, Mirkarimi refused to provide an explanation.

That distinction is critical, and the only basis for deciding what happened is for the judges -- the commissioners -- to use their best information and judgment about who’s telling the truth.

In other words, the mayor’s credibility is central to the entire case.

So if there’s any evidence that Lee lied about his discussions with Walter Wong or about whether he talked to any supervisors, then the commissioners would have the responsibility to consider that when evaluating the rest of his testimony. If you can’t believe everything he said, can you believe anything he said?

Some commissioners may argue that it’s not their business to determine if the mayor perjured himself, and on one level, that’s true -- Ed Lee isn’t on trial here. But his credibility either makes or breaks the case. So the panel needs to hear from witnesses who can address that question.

Then there’s the much larger, more disturbing possibility that the mayor sought to influence (or might have been in a position to influence) members of the Board of Supervisors, who will be sitting as the final judges of Mirkarimi’s fate.

There’s a reason that the City Attorney’s Office has advised board members not to talk about the case. They’re sitting in a judicial role, and they can’t legally fulfill that obligation if there’s any indication they’ve already made up their minds. And if the mayor has talked to any of them -- and there’s any indication at all that anything he said could be seen as seeking to influence their votes -- well, in a courtroom you’d call that jury tampering. It’s a little different in a political forum, but still: Any supervisor who had a conversation with the mayor will be under pressure to recuse himself or herself -- and every recusal helps Mirkarimi.

It doesn’t matter how many supervisors are in the room, in the country, recused or otherwise unable to vote -- the mayor still needs nine to remove the sheriff. Three recusals and the whole thing collapses.

That’s why all of this is so fascinating and potentially explosive.

Oh,and by the way: When Lee set this process in motion, he should have known that he'd be testifying under oath and that anything he said or did might come out. You'd think he'd have been a little better prepared. 

So what's going to happen to Ed Lee? Legally, nothing. But he may have done serious damage to his own case.

Comments

It was even reported on SFBG. Is that gossip too? Oh wait, I guess it is.

76% want Ross gone
14% want him to stay
10% don't care

My kind of odds, but obviously not yours by the effort you put into trying unsuccessfully to discredit it

Posted by Guest on Jul. 07, 2012 @ 3:55 pm

either know the difference or avoid telling lies which aren't abundantly easy to reveal.

The San Francisco Bay Guardian most certainly has not reported on the bogus poll -- and any putative journalist who would have should turn in their press card.

It is not a poll, but public relations bs on behalf of the Brown/Pak political machine.

Posted by lillipublicans on Jul. 07, 2012 @ 5:08 pm

A post here referred me to various references in the two papers in SF that aren't left-wing voicepieces.

Comments on those press reports led me to other reprots and analyses which convinced me the polls were genuine and accurately reflected the thinking of my fellow residents.

And if those polls cited 76% support for Ross, you'd be singing them from the rooftops.

Posted by Guest on Jul. 07, 2012 @ 5:14 pm

You are absolutely talking out of your ass in regard to this supposed poll being reported in the SFBG, and the fact that you reveal in the text the lie you told in the subject line does not make it not a lie.

Posted by lillipublicans on Jul. 07, 2012 @ 5:58 pm

checked more serious news stories, it checked out. Sorry to burst your bubble.

Posted by Guest on Jul. 08, 2012 @ 12:55 pm

columnists and internet trolls do not write serious news stories. Next!

Posted by lillipublicans on Jul. 08, 2012 @ 1:08 pm

But maybe you can't read so well.

Posted by Guest on Jul. 08, 2012 @ 3:09 pm

And if it had been, a reputable reporter would have had to phrase an account of the poll "reportedly" and/or "according to private sources" since the *NORMAL* and *EVERY DAY* source information for credible polls is *NOT* *AVAILABLE* and has never been released.

Only gossip columnists and trolls have reported the poll and if you could show otherwise, you would have by now.

Fucking ridiculous. Pak/Lee have bit off far more than they can chew and internet trolls bloviate on about that which nobody can believe.

Posted by lillipublicans on Jul. 08, 2012 @ 3:39 pm

same percentage that think a violent criminal should be running our sheriff's office.

Posted by Guest on Jul. 08, 2012 @ 3:58 pm
Posted by Guest on Jul. 07, 2012 @ 8:49 pm
Posted by Guest on Jul. 08, 2012 @ 12:57 pm

Peskin supports Ross so much he called on him to resign.

My bet is that Peskin was angling for something much closer to his self interest, perhaps the DCCC chair?

Posted by marcos on Jul. 07, 2012 @ 11:40 am

Thank god he never gave up!

Posted by Guest on Jul. 07, 2012 @ 8:33 pm

Nothing will be done about it - the City is very corrupt. The City government's primary purpose is to enrich its employees- no one wants to rock that apple cart.

Posted by Guest on Jul. 06, 2012 @ 11:49 pm

The primary purpose of government is to enrich campaign contributors, key city employees, managers (MEA), lawyers (MAA) cops and firefighters, are brought on board with that project via cushy employment deals.

Posted by marcos on Jul. 07, 2012 @ 8:13 am

nothing to do with whether Ross should keep his job after pleading guilty to a violent crime.

Then, if you want to investigate Lee afterwards, and of course the SFBG always wants to do that, then knock yourself out. But Ross stays out of work because of his crimes.

Posted by Guest on Jul. 07, 2012 @ 6:38 am

Mayor Ed Lee is looking both corrupt and dumb. I miss the days of Willie Brown when we had a smart corrupt mayor.

Posted by Guest on Jul. 07, 2012 @ 7:43 am

by next year.

I'm not a huge Lee fan. I didn't vote for him. But these comments on here... it's just a conversation you will find nowhere else.

The accusations against Lee are a little obscure, almost impossible to prove and don't make for an easy headline. Ross' shitstorm came with videos, photos, transcripts and made for an amazing headline.

Lee isn't going to stop being Chinese, the demographics of this City are not going to stop shifting moderate, and most importantly those in power are not going to let this story gain traction. In short, he will be fine. Sorry to be a downer.

Posted by Reader on Jul. 07, 2012 @ 9:59 am
Posted by Guest on Jul. 07, 2012 @ 11:21 am
Posted by Guest on Jul. 07, 2012 @ 1:30 pm

New poll results: 67% of SFers support Ross, while Ed Lee's favorability ratings have dropped considerably (just 39%) in the wake of media reports that he committed perjury. Most of the people who participated in this poll are alarmed at how much money this witch hunt is costing the city, and think that Ed Lee has clearly lost his marbles. This was a carefully constructed, scientific poll with a margin of error of 3%. I will be sure to link to it when you show me where I can find yours ;)

Posted by Guest on Jul. 08, 2012 @ 2:36 pm

I thought that you owned your words.

Posted by Guest on Jul. 08, 2012 @ 3:07 pm

is wearing thin. Might be time to think of a new angle -- or maybe even cut your wrists.

Posted by lillipublicans on Jul. 08, 2012 @ 3:21 pm

The findings are that 94% of the people support Ross, and 97.5% said that they always believe everything that Aaron Peskin says.

But it also found that 87% are concerned that @lilli has stopped taking his meds.

The poll was conducted by the firm of Watchette, Heeznuts & Howe

Posted by Troll on Jul. 08, 2012 @ 3:45 pm

accusing him of posting anon as "Guest", while of course denying he had posted that?

Hmmm.

Still it's entertaining to see how totally obsessed he is about something that he claims doesn't exist.

Posted by Guest on Jul. 08, 2012 @ 3:57 pm

Look Ross is still the one that withheld food from his wife and kid to control 'em and is still the one that bruised his wife. Progressives have NO POWER anymore (like they ever did as they capitulated often to power) and it doesn't matter what happens. Ross is finished, and the progressive can do nothing about it but blather on stupid blogs. Tough thing to take, the truth.

Posted by who cares? on Jul. 07, 2012 @ 10:39 am

others your cohort entertain.

"Who cares" if the mayor schemes and lies under oath to further machine politic goals? Probably most of the voters.

Posted by lillipublicans on Jul. 07, 2012 @ 11:11 am

""Who cares" if the mayor schemes and lies under oath to further machine politic goals? Probably most of the voters."

Did you move to SF like last year?

Willie Brown? That was like blatant, open, unapologetic cronyism. Newsom? He had an affair with his campaign manager's wife while doing tons of blow.

Both got reelected fairly easily. And neither had the Chinese vote on lock. And this town is far more moderate now. That's the reality.

Posted by Me on Jul. 07, 2012 @ 11:31 am

Willie Brown could not have gotten reelected in 2003 had there been no term limits.

Posted by marcos on Jul. 07, 2012 @ 11:47 am

You have somehow managed to be wrong on everything. How's Occupy?

Posted by Guest on Jul. 07, 2012 @ 12:25 pm

In fact, no moderate mayor has been in danger of losing since Agnos was briefly Mayor.

Posted by Guest on Jul. 07, 2012 @ 1:29 pm

spent something like 5:1.

(And incidentally, when Brown beat Ammiano in the previous election -- a poorly attended run-off after Ammiano's surprise 2nd place write-in win, he outspent the other man over 10:1.)

Perhaps San Francisco has gotten stupider and more right-wing, but your assessment seems to be more based on your own wishful thinking than anything else. The pendulum swings back and forth.

Posted by lillipublicans on Jul. 07, 2012 @ 12:18 pm

every other leftie did much worse than Gonzo. Avalos got killed.

Posted by Guest on Jul. 07, 2012 @ 1:17 pm

Gonzo is ancient history, however he got more votes than any other candidate who lost in a mayoral race. The town is not nearly as "moderate" (read conservative) as you think.

Posted by Guest on Jul. 07, 2012 @ 2:13 pm

in 1936

FDR got 523 electoral college votes
Alf Landon came in second with 8 votes

almost too close to call like the Avalos / Lee election.

Posted by matlock on Jul. 07, 2012 @ 2:36 pm

Trust me, if Alf Landon was a Progressive we'd be hearing about his strong showing and how he only lost because he was outspent.

Posted by Troll on Jul. 07, 2012 @ 5:00 pm

That's still a clear margin of victory. The fact that other liberals have done much worse goes to show that in fact the town is moderate. While if you consider the Bay Area as a whole, which would all be incoporated in SF in most other places, it's even more moderate.

Posted by Guest on Jul. 07, 2012 @ 2:49 pm

Newsom spent over Gonzalez's seven dollars and fifty cents.

Spare me your "this town is moderate" malarky. This town has a range of views from the very left to the very right wing, and I think those who speak of "moderates" are actually covering for those who are actually very immoderate.

Posted by lillipublicans on Jul. 07, 2012 @ 6:30 pm

As we saw with Lee/Avalos, an easy 60% prefer someone who isn't extreme - exactly what you'd expect in a city that claims to be tolerant and moderate.

Posted by Guest on Jul. 08, 2012 @ 5:33 am

center and right was split.

In a runoff, several other candidiates could have done better than Avalos because they appeal more to the center. Avalos was just lucky and he was also unelectable.

Posted by Guest on Jul. 07, 2012 @ 2:51 pm

constitutes "withholding food"? Ivory Madison has a very vivid imagination. You don't know the differences between hearsay, fantasy, and truth. Ivory Madison never observed any deprivation of food. Does Eliana Lopez, who is very voluptuous, look deprived of food to you?
If someone threatened to take your child out of the country for a long time, after just returning from making a movie in that other country and keeping the child out of the country for several months the first time, I imagine you might perpetrate an arm grab and your partner might yell at you and wrench his arm away...creating a bruise.
You would want to lose your job and family over that? of course not.

Posted by Guest on Jul. 07, 2012 @ 11:19 am

when she and her child were falsely imprisoned in Ross's vehicle, they were on their way to eat. Bingo.

Posted by Guest on Jul. 07, 2012 @ 1:25 pm

If you keep up with this crap we're going to send you to bed without your supper.

Posted by marcos on Jul. 07, 2012 @ 1:40 pm

I know how he feels. Still, he's getting all the rice and beans he wants now.

Posted by Guest on Jul. 07, 2012 @ 2:49 pm

And somehow when our parents sent us to bed without supper for acting childish we managed to survive, our self esteem intact, amply fed at that.

Posted by marcos on Jul. 07, 2012 @ 3:59 pm

without his supper for being naughty . .

and . .

the city sheriiff, refusing to feed his family because he's angry about an unrelated matter, trapping them in a vehicle, bruising his wife's arm, shouting and being verbally abusive, and then trying to get the whole thing hushed up when a good samaritan neighbor called the police because she was worried about the safety of his family.

Posted by Guest on Jul. 07, 2012 @ 4:10 pm

the bit about denying food is from the hearsay declaration of fabulist Ivory Madison.

Posted by Guest on Jul. 07, 2012 @ 8:56 pm

when they were going to eat. That was the "false imprisonment".

Posted by Guest on Jul. 08, 2012 @ 5:32 am

Having read Steve Jones & Tim Redmond's pieces and most particularly the comments thereon, perjury is very hard to prove. However, as I understand it, Debra Walker had more than one discussion with Olague about her talks with Ed Lee concerning the fate of Mirkarimi--in which case there is a probability that Olague spoke to others on the same matter--another needs to come forward--that would begin to tip the scales and change the dynamics.
What is more important is the bomb scare during Ed Lee's testimony when he apparently was floundering and in trouble--and at that point, the apparent bomb threat to the Sheriff's Dept.(?) that gave Ed some breathing room. If accurate, most people would call the SFPD not understanding the jurisdiction of the Sheriff's Dept.
Lee should call for an outside investigation concerning possible obstruction of justice and interference with a quasi-judicial proceeding by means of threats of violence---referring the matter to either the fed or state or both---in order to clear any suspicion that the bomb scare was an inside job. Given his early protestations that he would not run for mayor, his sunny disposition, and cheery face---is it all a facade for the lie within?

Posted by AG on Jul. 07, 2012 @ 1:21 pm

It wasn't made under oath, it's hearsay, and Olage has already revealed that it never happened. Walker is lying.

Posted by Guest on Jul. 07, 2012 @ 1:27 pm