SAN DIEGO - The woman who was instrumental in convicting former San Diego police officer Anthony Arevalos for sexual misconduct and sending him to prison for eight years is now being accused of bribing him to get out of a DUI.
The move comes just a few months before the civil case against the city goes to trial. Some attorneys 10News spoke with said this is a shameful attempt to smear the victim.
This case is the last of a dozen civil lawsuits against the city, but it has the potential to be the most explosive and expensive.
Jane Doe is the woman who was seen on surveillance video going into a downtown 7-Eleven store with Arevalos.
Gretchen Von Helms was Arevalos' defense attorney. She wishes prosecutors would have taken a closer look at Jane Doe during the trial because this is the woman who practically put the nail in his coffin.
"Because without her testimony, he may not have been convicted of any of the events," said Von Helms.
Once called a hero for coming forward, now Jane Doe is being called an instigator.
"Obviously, the city is recognizing that she has credibility issues," said Von Helms.
New documents filed by the San Diego City Attorney's Office read, "Plaintiff bribed Officer Arevalos with her panties to get out of the DUI."
But another attorney who won a $700,000 award for another Arevalos victim calls this accusation a classic case of blaming the victim.
The claim appears to be a stunning about-face for the city. When Jane Doe came forward claiming that Arevalos took her to a 7-Eleven for her panties in exchange for getting her out of a DUI, San Diego Police Chief Bill Lansdowne called her a hero. Now, the city claims Jane Doe initiated the conversation, not Arevalos. But Von Helms said prosecutors knew that all along.
"Because that's exactly what came out of her mouth," she said. "The city's position at the time was well, you're a police officer and you shouldn't have taken her up on the bribe."
Neither side appears to want to settle the case, so it is headed for trial.
One lawyer 10News spoke with calls the accusation of "panty bribing" an attempt to infect the jury pool and possibly a tactic to reduce the amount of money Jane Doe could get from the case.
So far, the city has paid out more than $2 million to settle the cases from previous Arevalos victims. One source told 10News this one could cost the city millions but the city attorney is pulling out all the stops and hiring top experts from around the country.