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San Francisco D.A. To Decide Soon If New Sheriff Will Face Charges

SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS) — San Francisco District Attorney George Gascon hopes to finalize a decision on whether or not new sheriff Ross Mirkarimi with be charged with allegations related to domestic violence by the end of the week.

The sheriff's attorney, Bob Waggener, said if charges are filed, Mirkarimi would fight them, meaning there could be a very public trial.

"If charges are filed, they'll likely be misdemeanors and the options will be limited," Waggener said.

KCBS' Bob Melrose Reports:

A neighbor of the couple told police on Jan. 4 that Mirkarimi and his wife, Eliana Lopez, had gotten into an argument on New Year's Eve during which Lopez suffered a bruise to her arm, according to a search warrant affidavit.

Lopez allegedly showed the neighbor the bruise, according to the affidavit. During the search, police seized a video camera and iPhone used to exchange text messages about the injury.

Lopez last week denied the allegations, saying in a statement that she has "absolutely no complaint against my husband."

If Mirkarimi enters a guilty plea or no contest, he will have to go through a year-long anger management program, be placed on probation, won't be allowed to carry a gun, but could remain in office.

The D.A. previously said this would be treated like any other case, but admits that the spotlight is now on his office.

"Obviously you have a high-profile elected official. I can see how the public interest in this case might be different than, quite frankly, the 700 plus other cases that we handled in 2011," Gascon said.

Gascon added that there is a lot of evidence to go through and that it's not unusual for a victim in a domestic violence case to not cooperate.

(Copyright 2011 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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