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Disgraced San Diego Mayor Bob Filner resigns in negotiated deal (+video)

Faced with accusations of misconduct by 18 women, San Diego Mayor Bob Filner resigned Friday in a deal that limits his financial liability for the legal problems sure to follow. A special election will choose a new mayor.

By Staff writer / August 23, 2013

San Diego Mayor Bob Filner speaks after agreeing to resign at a city council meeting Friday, Aug. 23, 2013, in San Diego. Filner agreed to resign on Aug. 30, bowing to enormous pressure after lurid sexual harassment allegations brought by 18 women eroded his support after just nine months on the job.

Gregory Bull/AP

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San Diego Mayor Bob Filner’s long political career – which dates back to the civil rights era and included many years as a progressive Democrat in Congress – came to a dramatic end Friday afternoon, the finale to a dramatic few weeks that saw woman after woman come forward to accuse him of inappropriate conduct.

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As part of a deal, Mr. Filner will resign a week from now (Aug. 30) in exchange for the city taking some steps to limit his financial liability for the legal problems that are sure to follow.

Under the agreement, the city drops the cross-complaint it filed against Filner and will provide a joint legal defense in the sexual harassment lawsuit brought by a former aide, U-T San Diego reports. Filner may continue to retain outside counsel, but the city will pay no more than $98,000 for his attorney fees. The city will have complete control over decisions on settlements of any claims.

Eighteen women (at last count) had accused the mayor and former congressman of groping them or making lewd comments, the list ranging from his former communications director (who sued him for sexual harassment) to military veterans to a 67-year-old great-grandmother.

In a public apology weeks ago, Filner conceded that his conduct had been “inappropriate and wrong,” then he disappeared into two weeks of what he called “intensive therapy.”

But by then it was way too late, and a signature-gathering effort to oust him by ballot measure was underway. Meanwhile, federal, state, and local investigators began gathering information and building cases against Filner for financial issues dealing with developers.

In a dramatic appearance after the City Council had met in private Friday afternoon to formally accept the negotiated settlement, Filner apologized to San Diegans and to his accusers.

"The city should not have to go through this, and my own personal failures were responsible and I apologize to the city," Filner said.

"To all the women that I've offended, I had no intention to be offensive, to violate any physical or emotional space," he said. "I was trying to establish personal relationships, but the combination of awkwardness and hubris led to behavior that I think many found offensive."

But the disgraced mayor also slammed what he called a political “lynch mob” mentality marked by “rumor and innuendo” that led to his downfall.

Of the allegations by the 18 women who came forward to personally accuse him of inappropriate conduct, Filner said, “Not one allegation has been independently verified or proven in court.”

“I know that given due process, I would have been vindicated,” he said.

Vindication for Filner had not been on the mind of a long and growing list or prominent Democrats who had called for his resignation, including California’s two US senators (Dianne Feinstein and Barbara Boxer), House minority leader Nancy Pelosi, and both the Democratic Party of San Diego and Democratic National Committee Chairman Debbie Wasserman Schultz, a US representative from Florida.

On the day when he finally agreed to step down, the Democratic National Committee (DNC) unanimously approved a resolution urging Filner to resign.

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