San Diego Mayor Bob Filner (D) announced his resignation Friday afternoon, brought down by allegations that the former congressman had sexually harassed more than a dozen women during his political career.
Filner began a speech to the public with a round of apologies to the city, to the public, to his staff and his accusers.
“To all the women that I offended, I had no intention to be offensive,” Filner said.
Despite these apologies, though, Filner did not confess to any sexual harassment and instead remained defiant against the allegations. He said a combination of “awkwardness and hubris” caused innocuous behavior to be construed as offensive.
“Rumors become allegations, allegations become facts, facts become evidence of sexual harassment, which have led to demands for my resignation and recall,” Filner said. “Not one allegation … has ever been independently verified or proven in court.”
Filner said he thought a “lynch mob mentality” had taken hold of the public regarding the accusations and given him no choice but to resign.
Filner said he was completely confident that had he used full due process to defend himself, he would have been vindicated in his claims of innocence.
Eighteen women have accused Filner of sexually harassing them.
According to San Diego City Attorney Jan Goldsmith, the agreement does not resolve any potential criminal issues for Filner but will limit his financial exposure to a lawsuit filed by Irene McCormack Jackson, a former aide. Goldsmith emphasized that his office, by necessity, had recused itself from potential criminal prosecutions, leaving such efforts to state or federal prosecutors.
In potential lawsuits against the city and Filner from current or former employees, the city will provide a joint legal defense for both the city and Filner through the City Attorney's office. If Filner chooses to retain outside counsel for advice, the city will provide him with up to $98,000 to do so.
The city is allowed to see reimbursement from Filner for any damages it is forced to pay arising from his sexual misconduct, and the agreement excludes entirely any claims arising from alleged conduct outside his capacity as mayor.
San Diego will hold a special election within 90 days to replace Filner.