SAN DIEGO (AP) — The California attorney general has opened a criminal investigation of San Diego Mayor Bob Filner, who agreed to resign after lurid sexual harassment allegations eroded his support less than nine months on the job.
Attorney general spokesman Nicholas Pacilio confirmed Friday that a criminal investigation is underway but declined to elaborate. He spoke moments after Filner told the City Council he would leave office next week.
The San Diego County Sheriff’s Department is fielding complaints of sexual misconduct by the mayor and delivering its findings to the attorney general’s office.
San Diego County District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis has recused herself. She lost to Filner in last year’s election.
When Filner’s resignation takes effect, Todd Gloria, the Democratic City Council president, becomes acting mayor until a special election is held within 90 days. Democrats enjoy a solid edge over Republicans in voter registration, but the GOP will capitalize on the Filner debacle to try to reclaim an office it has held for nearly all of the last four decades.
After taking office on Dec. 3, 2012, Filner struck a five-year labor agreement with city unions and opened a city of San Diego office in Tijuana to strengthen ties with the Mexican border city, However, he alienated many key players even before the allegations surfaced, including members of the City Council, the city attorney and hoteliers.
He served 10 terms in Congress, marked perhaps most famously by a 2007 run-in with a United Airlines baggage handler at Dulles International Airport that resulted in him acknowledging a misdemeanor charge of trespassing. Joanne Kunkel alleged in a criminal complaint that Filner barged past other customers, screamed at employees, repeatedly pushed her and yelled, “You can’t stop me.”
Filner, who began his political career on the San Diego school board and later served on the City Council, is twice divorced. Ex-fiancee Ingram ended her marriage engagement days before the scandal broke and later said Filner sent sexually explicit text messages to other women and arranged dates in her presence.
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