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San Francisco sheriff takes plea deal in domestic violence case

March 12, 2012 | 11:34 am

Photo: Ross Mirkarimi addresses reporters while leaving court on Jan. 26. Credit: Eric Risberg / Associated PressSan Francisco County Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi pleaded guilty Monday to false imprisonment in connection to a domestic violence incident with his wife, a former Venezuelan telenovela star, a district attorney's  spokesman said.

Mirkarimi entered the plea in a San Francisco courtroom. He will be sentenced to three years of probation and a year of counseling, spokesman Omid Talai said.

The plea came after a higher court ruled that jurors could see a video of Mirkarimi's wife, Eliana Lopez, made shortly after the incident.

Mirkarimi earlier was charged with three misdemeanors and could have been sentenced to a year in jail if convicted. Those charges were dropped as part of the plea deal.

The case has captivated the attention of San Francisco over the last few months.

The saga began New Year's Eve, when Mirkarimi, his wife and their 2-year-old son, Theo, went out for lunch. En route to the restaurant, according to Mirkarimi's arrest warrant, Lopez asked if she could visit her family in Venezuela after her husband's Jan. 8 inauguration.

In response, Mirkarimi began screaming obscenities, accusing Lopez of "trying to take Theo away from me." He turned the car around, told his wife she "didn't deserve to eat" and drove home, court documents said.

"The fight continued and became louder, and Ross Mirkarimi continued to be verbally abusive and physically abusive," the arrest warrant said. The incident was reported to involve "pushing, pulling and grabbing."

On New Year's Day, Lopez knocked on her neighbor's door, went inside and burst into tears. According to the neighbor, Lopez pushed up her sleeve to reveal a large bruise on her right arm. She said it happened when Mirkarimi grabbed her. The neighbor pulled out a video camera and shot about 55 seconds of footage showing Lopez, distraught.


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Photo: Ross Mirkarimi addresses reporters while leaving court on Jan. 26. Credit: Eric Risberg / Associated Press