This article comes to us courtesy of SF Weekly's The Snitch.
This morning, suspended San Francisco Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi embraced his wife Eliana Lopez for the first time in nearly five months after a judge lifted a protective order that had barred the couple from communicating or seeing each other.
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The court instead issued a modified order, clarifying that Mirkarimi cannot assault, harass, or threaten his wife -- things that, his attorneys noted, were blatantly obvious, according to media reports. Nevertheless, it's the first victory for the suspended sheriff since Mirkarimi entered a guilty plea to misdemeanor false imprisonment charges in March. CBS News caught the first kiss on photo this morning.
Mirkarimi's attorney requested that the order be lifted in lieu of the suspended sheriff's compliance with terms of his probation.
The suspended sheriff has not been able to see or speak to his wife since March, per a restraining order issued by the court after the couple's domestic dispute Dec. 31 where Mirkarimi grabbed his wife's arm, leaving her with a bruise. Mirkarimi was arrested in January on suspicion of battery and child endangerment. He pleaded guilty to misdemeanor false imprisonment and in exchange, prosecutors dropped the other charges.
Mayor Ed Lee then suspended the newly elected sheriff without pay and is now trying to get Mirkarimi removed from office permanently. The Ethics Commission will determine whether Mirkarimi, an elected official, is guilty of official misconduct.
Despite the lovers' reunion today, Lopez will still go back to her native Venezuela to tend to her ill father and to take care of Theo, the couple's 3-year-old son. This is consistent with her previous claim of remaining in Venezuela to support herself and Theo since Mirkarimi remains suspended without pay. No word on whether Mirkarimi will accompany her to her native Venezuela.
Lopez and Mirkarimi were all smiles and held hands like giddy high schoolers after a judge lifted the order this morning. Mirkarimi reminded reporters how much he has suffered since he was banned from seeing his wife. "It's beyond cruel and punishing," he told the press. "We're trying to cope."
However, Lopez, who consistently displayed her marriage in a positive light during her testimony at the SF Ethics Commission hearing, continued to point to the silver lining, saying all this drama has been good for them: "We're stronger than ever before, that is a gift," she reportedly said.
Lopez and Theo plan to live with Mirkarimi in the U.S. in the future. Lopez has been living in Venezuela since March, but returned to SF earlier this week to testify in support of her husband at the city's Ethics Commission hearing.
Take a look at images from their reunion, courtesy of Joe Vazquez for CBS News:
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