Ross Mirkarimi ethics hearing to begin in San Francisco

San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee (left) speaks during a news conference Tuesday, March 20, 2012, in San Francisco. Lee says he will file an official misconduct charge against Sheriff Russ Mirkarimi (right).
AP Photo/Ben Margot
Ross Mirkarimi
File,AP Photo/Eric Risberg

(CBS/AP) SAN FRANCISCO - San Francisco's ethics commission will hear testimony in the city's misconduct case against Ross Mirkarimi, the suspended sheriff removed from his job after being charged with domestic violence.

The commission hearing Monday comes after months of drama surrounding the former city supervisor and recently elected sheriff.

Last month, Mirkarimi pleaded guilty to one count of misdemeanor false imprisonment after being accused of bruising the arm of his wife, Eliana Lopez, during a dispute on New Year's Eve.

Prosecutors originally charged Mirkarimi with misdemeanor domestic violence, child endangerment and dissuading a witness after a next-door neighbor turned over a video to police showing a tearful Lopez displaying a bruised arm.

Mirkarimi has argued the domestic violence charges were politically motivated, saying much of the case was a fabrication.

He said he and Lopez were arguing after she said she wanted to take their 3-year-old son to Venezuela for an extended stay. Mirkarimi claimed his son "panicked" when Lopez left the car and tried to get him out of his car seat, saying he put his hand underneath her arm to bring her back into the seat.

After his guilty plea, Mayor Ed Lee gave Mirkarimi 24 hours to resign or face the misconduct charges he will defend himself against on Monday.

The ethics commission, a panel meant to serve as a watchdog for city government, has only advisory power.

After hearing evidence from the city and Mirkarimi's attorneys, the panel will issue a recommendation to San Francisco's Board of Supervisors, who will make the final decision.

Nine of the 11 supervisors would have to agree in order for Mirkarimi to be permanently removed from office after a public hearing.

Complete coverage of Ross Mirkarimi on Crimesider