Filner pleads guilty to three charges in deal that avoids jail

U-T San Diego photo from court by John Gibbins. Filner is at left.

Disgraced former San Diego mayor Bob Filner appeared in court there this morning to plead guilty to a felony charge of false imprisonment and two lesser charges of battery. The deal includes three months of home confinement, three years of probation and fines but no jail time. Sentencing was set for Dec. 9. From the U-T website:

The charges involve three unnamed women victims, with the following events this year, which Filner admitted to one by one:

On March 6, he used force to overcome the resistance of a woman at a fundraiser, violating her liberty. This incident resulted in the felony charge.

On April 6, he kissed a woman on the lips at a one of his "Meet the Mayor" events for the public, resulting in one battery charge.

On May 25, he went to a Fiesta Island rally and clean-up, and when a woman posed with him for a photo, he touched her rear end, resulting in the second battery charge.

U-T Watchdog reported earlier this month that a criminal grand jury had been empaneled to hear evidence of possible criminal charges against Filner, 71, who resigned from office on Aug. 30. At least two lawyers said that they had clients who were called to testify in front of the panel, with appearance dates later this week. The guilty plea indicates the impending proceedings may have provided leverage for a plea deal.

Allegations of sexual harassment against Filner have been investigated by the San Diego County Sheriff's Office, using a special hotline set up for the purpose. The sheriff handled the investigation because the city police department reported to Filner. Similarly, prosecution on criminal charges was handled by the state Attorney General's Office because of a conflict of interest. That is, District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis ran against Filner for mayor last year.

Photo from court: John Gibbins/UT San Diego

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