Embattled Mayor Bob Filner wants taxpayers to pay his legal bills in sexual harassment suit

City Council to discuss issue Tuesday

SAN DIEGO - Mayor Bob Filner wants the citizens of San Diego to pay his legal bills in a sexual harassment lawsuit.

The request came from the embattled mayor's attorney Monday afternoon and has been placed on San Diego City Council's closed-door session Tuesday evening.

"I don't know that we can justify that expense, given the personal nature of the allegations," said Council President Todd Gloria. "This was not stuff that was done in the course of the mayor's work or required by his work. This is stuff he chose to do on his own."

Gloria said the public will be able to comment on the issue before council members meet with City Attorney Jan Goldsmith to discuss it.

Seven women have publicly alleged that Filner has groped them, tried to kiss them, made unwanted advances and sexually charged remarks.

One, former mayoral Communications Director Irene McCormack Jackson, hired high-profile Los Angeles lawyer Gloria Allred -- who sued Filner and the city.

The request to pay legal fees came on the same day that council members were struggling with the news that the existing code for recalling an elected official is flawed and may be unconstitutional.

"What happened at the state level after the Gray Davis recall was that a federal judge ruled that the state law was unconstitutional and that essentially said that you had to vote on the question of the recall before you could choose a candidate to replace the person being recalled and our local code still says that," explained Councilman Mark Kersey.

Kersey said the city code needs to be changed whether or not there is a recall initiative placed on the ballot to remove Filner.

"The real issue here is we don’t want to disenfranchise voters. Everybody needs to have their vote, and we don't want to unnecessarily waste taxpayer dollars because we know we're open to some legal liability here," said Kersey.

Because City Council is about to begin its summer break, a special session may have to be called during the month of August to correct the code.

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