SAN DIEGO – Former San Diego Mayor Bob Filner, driven from office by sexual harassment allegations, pleaded guilty Tuesday to a felony for putting a woman in a headlock and to less serious charges for kissing another woman against her will and grabbing the buttocks of a third.
The pleas came less than two months after the 10-term congressman defiantly said he was the victim of a lynch mob and insisted he would be vindicated of the sexual harassment claims by at least 17 women if due process was allowed to run its course.
His accusers included a retired navy admiral, a university dean and great grandmother.
Filner said little on Tuesday beyond “guilty” when a judge read the charges against him – one count of felony false imprisonment and two counts of misdemeanor battery.
Under a plea deal, the state attorney general’s office will recommend Filner be sentenced to three months of home confinement and three years of probation. The maximum possible sentence for a false imprisonment count is three years in prison and one year for each count of battery.
Filner, 71, did not comment after the hearing but his attorney said the former mayor “profusely apologizes” for his behavior.
“I think he wants to redeem his original legacy, which was a wonderful one, and put this behind him,” attorney Jerry Coughlan said. “He’s been jogging, he’s been getting therapy, talking to friends, trying to come to terms with how to deal with these kinds of problems. It’s a full-time job.”
Filner resigned Aug. 30, succumbing to intense pressure after the parade of women accused him of sexual harassment. He had held the office for less than nine months of a four-year term and was San Diego’s first Democratic mayor in 20 years.