Sources tell 10News former San Diego Mayor Bob Filner criminal probe heading to grand jury

SAN DIEGO - 10News has confirmed through sources that a criminal grand jury will be convened to look into the actions of disgraced former San Diego Mayor Bob Filner.

According to sources, subpoenas have been received by some witnesses, but because of the shroud of secrecy around grand jury proceedings, few people connected to the case are willing or able to talk about it.

Attorney Dan Gilleon, who represents two women who filed sexual harassment claims against Filner, would not say whether his clients had been called to testify, but he agreed to talk about the process.

"If there is going to be a case and there is a grand jury, the prosecutor will want to take the moral high ground," said Gilleon, explaining that a grand jury indictment is tantamount to having any criminal charges "anointed" by a panel of citizens.

Gilleon also said that by using a grand jury, prosecutors can avoid any appearance that any charges brought forward were political in nature.

The grand jury is a one-sided opportunity for the prosecutor to bring witnesses before a panel of their peers, who decide whether to issue a "true bill" that would lead to the filing of criminal charges.

Twelve of 19 grand jurors must be in agreement before any indictment can be handed down.

"I don't think the attorney general would ask for a grand jury unless they believed they were going to get the indictment; that would be very embarrassing," Gilleon remarked.

When asked about the secret proceedings, a spokesman for the California Attorney General said, "We decline to comment."

10News contacted several other attorneys connected to the Filner case, and each said that because of the secrecy of grand jury proceedings, they could not confirm or deny any involvement.

One of the former mayor's accusers, great-grandmother Peggy Shannon, told 10News she has not been asked to testify.

It's not known whether the inquiry will focus on sexual harassment claims, allegations that Filner was involved in a "pay for play" scheme with developers, or that he may have misused city funds.

The San Diego Sheriff's Department undertook an investigation after sexual harassment complaints were lodged against Filner in July, and set up a dedicated phone line for women to call with allegations. They planned to forward any potential case to the state Attorney General's Office.

Those agencies are involved because the San Diego Police Department and county District Attorney's Office -- led by Bonnie Dumanis, who ran against Filner for mayor last year -- had conflicts of interest.

Filner faces a civil lawsuit filed by his former communications director, Irene McCormack Jackson, who is represented by attorney Gloria Allred. She alleges Filner told her she should work without panties on, that he wanted to see her naked and could not wait to consummate their relationship.

McCormack Jackson -- the first of about 20 women to come forward -- also alleges Filner put his arm around her and dragged her along in a headlock while making sexual remarks. It was mediation over her lawsuit that led the 71-year-old former congressman to resign Aug. 30 after less than nine months in office.

When Filner resigned, he apologized but also blamed a "lynch mob" mentality for his downfall.

 

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