San Diego mayor wins postponement of deposition in harassment case

SAN DIEGO Wed Aug 7, 2013 9:47pm EDT

1 of 2. (From L-R) Attorney Gloria Allred, Michelle Tyler and Katherine Ragazzino attend at a news conference in San Diego, California, August 6, 2013. T

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SAN DIEGO (Reuters) - A judge postponed embattled San Diego Mayor Bob Filner's deposition in a high-profile sexual harassment lawsuit on Wednesday after lawyers for the 70-year-old Democrat said he would be in intensive therapy at the time.

Filner faces mounting pressure to resign after a string of women publicly accused him of making unwanted sexual advances. He refused to step down but has acknowledged disrespectful conduct and on Sunday entered a clinic for two weeks of behavioral counseling.

San Diego Superior Court Judge Richard Strauss, in agreeing to a delay, did not set a new date for Filner's deposition in the suit filed by his former press deputy but ordered both sides to appear at a hearing on various legal issues on September 16.

In asking to have the deposition postponed, Filner's attorneys included a signed note from a psychologist, who wrote that the mayor would be "under my care in an intensive treatment program" at the time.

"We don't know who this person is," Joe Cordileone, San Diego's chief deputy city attorney, said of the doctor who signed the note. "We don't know what kind of treatment the mayor is getting. We don't know what is going on."

Filner's attorneys, Harvey Berger and Alexander Ruiz, could not be reached for comment on Wednesday.

They also asked that Filner's deposition be sealed and the case be moved to neighboring Imperial County on the grounds that "relentless publicity" in the case would make it impossible for their client to get a fair trial.

Gloria Allred, the lawyer representing former Filner press secretary Irene McCormack Jackson in her lawsuit, filed last month, said in a statement she would oppose moving the case.

"Mayor Filner is the mayor of the city of San Diego. This case should be heard in San Diego. The conduct we allege in our lawsuit occurred in San Diego," Allred said. "We believe that the case should be heard and decided by a jury of Mayor Filner's peers who reside in San Diego."

In addition to Jackson, 12 other women have come forward in recent weeks to accuse the veteran politician of groping them, making lewd comments or other unwanted sexual advances - including two military veterans who told CNN in interviews aired on Wednesday that Filner behaved inappropriately with them while running for mayor last year.

A number of prominent Democrats have called for Filner to resign, including U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein, the San Diego Democratic Party, the former mayor of San Diego and the city council, and state legislators. He is also the subject of a bipartisan recall campaign.

(Editing by Dan Whitcomb and Lisa Shumaker)

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