On the morning of October 15, Bob Filner succumbed to intense pressure and pleaded guilty to one felony count of false imprisonment by violence and two misdemeanor counts of battery for harassing three women while mayor of San Diego.
The felony count involves allegations of false imprisonment by "violence, fraud, menace and deceit." The count alleges that Filner used undue force to hold a woman against her will at a political fundraiser in March, apparently in a move known derisively as the "Filner headlock."
The other two counts included allegations of sexual harassment including asking female employees to work without panties, demanding kisses and grabbing a woman’s behind.
Filner resigned as mayor in August after at least 17 women brought lurid sexual harassment allegations against the former 10-term congressman. He had been on the job less than nine months into a four-year term and was San Diego's first Democratic mayor in 20 years.
Filner's former communications director, Irene McCormack Jackson, was the first woman to go public with allegations against Filner and filed a lawsuit against the mayor and the city, claiming her ex-boss asked her to work without panties, demanded kisses, told her he wanted to see her naked and dragged her in a headlock while whispering in her ear.
It is believed that part of the reason for the plea bargain was due to a criminal investigation by the state Attorney General’s Office. The agreement requires Filner be on three years probation, never to seek public office, undergo mental health treatment and at least three months on home confinement.
He remains free on his own recognizance until his sentencing hearing, which was sent for Dec. 9.
The ex-mayor agreed to go through the formal booking and release process at the Central Jail on Sunday.
Filner’s attorney made a statement which included: “Mr. Filner has a great legacy of achievement, accomplishment and service starting as a Freedom Rider in the 1960s, 20-year college professor, school board president, city councilman, Congressman and a mayor. He does not want that legacy to be destroyed by his recent personal conduct. This plea today is one more step to set himself on a different course to redeem himself and to let everyone know that he is sorry for his conduct.”
Under the plea bargain, Filner loses two-thirds of his mayoral pension, measured from the date of his first offense in April through his resignation. From serving on the City Council from 1987 to 1992, he receives an annual pension of about $10,000. City officials have not yet calculated how much his mayoral pension would be.
State Atty. Gen. Kamala Harris said Filner's conduct — touching women inappropriately, kissing them without permission, whispering lewd suggestions — "was not only criminal, it was also an extreme abuse of power."
Officials tweeted their reactions to Filner's guilty plea. San Diego District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis said, “Ex-mayor's guilty plea sends strong message: nobody is above the law, abuse won’t be tolerated, & victims will be treated with respect.”