On Friday, prosecutors working to convict San Francisco Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi on a series of charges released a series of photos showing Mirkarimi's wife, former Venezuelan telenovela star Eliana Lopez, with a visible bruise on her arm.
The photos are still images taken from a cell phone video shot by neighbor Ivory Madison following an incident on New Year's Eve when Mirkarimi--who has pled not guilty to charges of domestic violence battery, child endangerment and dissuading a witness--allegedly grabbed Lopez hard enough to leave a mark.
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During a pre-trial hearing last week, lawyers for Mirkarimi and Lopez, both of whom deny that any abuse took place, attempted to bar the video from being being introduced into the trial.
Mirkarimi's lawyer, Lidia Stiglich, argued that Lopez had neighbor Ivory Madison take the video to later be used as evidence in case she and Mirkarimi were ever involved in a protracted child custody battle over their two-year-old son, Theo.
Lopez's lawyer, Paula Canny, similarly asked to have the video ruled inadmissible because Lopez believed her conversions with Madison, who is a lawyer by training, were subject to attorney-client privilege, even though Madison is no longer a practicing attorney.
"There is no doubt that without this video, this case would be difficult to proceed on," Assistant District Attorney Omid Talai told CBS San Francisco. "We are not surprised or concerned with any of the motions filed by the defense...We are confident the law supports us in this area and the video will be admitted into evidence."
Presiding Judge Garrett L. Wong, who was assigned to the trial on Friday, said he is will rule if the videos are inadmissible sometime on Monday.
In the video, Lopez pointed to her arm and said, "This happened yesterday, um, the end of 2011, and this is the second time this is happening. And I tell Ross I want to work on the marriage, we need help, I have been telling him we need help, and I am going to use this just in case he wants to take Theo away from me. Because he did, he said that, that he's very powerful, and he can, he can do it," according to the filing...."I really thought that we would never have to use this video, uh, unless, (Mirkarimi) got nasty in the divorce proceedings," Madison said, according to the filing.
Prosecutor Elizabeth Aguilar Tarchi also issued a written reply to a series of motions submitted by Stiglich last week.
Tarchi also said that after the alleged incident Mirkarimi had isolated Lopez, who confided in Madison at the first safe opportunity to disclose the alleged abuse. But according to Stiglich's motion, Lopez was not isolated. Stiglich wrote that Lopez took Theo to a nearby park after the incident and later went to a restaurant to pick up dinner for her family.
In addition, Tarchi submitted emails suggesting that Mirkarimi deliberately took Lopez and Theo to Monterey on Jan. 2 to prevent Lopez from telling anyone about the incident. In an email to Madison just before the trip, Lopez wrote: "We are coming back tomorrow and Ross will work and I will have my life and peace back. I will call you!!"
If convicted on all charges, Mirkarimi could face up to a year in prison and three years probation.
Take a look at images of the bruise below: