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Mayor Lawyers Up in Federal Case

San Diego Mayor Bob Filner has hired a high-powered criminal defense attorney in a federal probe involving a Kearny Mesa development, according to two people with knowledge of the situation.

Filner has hired Jerry Coughlan, who has represented numerous local political figures involved in recent criminal cases, while federal investigators dig into an alleged quid-pro-quo involving city land and a since-returned donation from developer Sunroad to two Filner pet projects in the city.

No charges have been brought in the case and news reports have said FBI agents are questioning those involved in various city land deals.

Coughlan's probably best known for successfully defending former City Councilman Mike Zucchet in a federal corruption trial that ended in 2010. He also has represented former pension board member and firefighter union president Ron Saathoff and convicted former redevelopment chief Carolyn Smith in their corruption cases. He was on the short-list to be the region's top federal prosecutor before the job went to Laura Duffy in 2009.

Coughlan couldn't immediately be reached for comment.

A spokesman for City Attorney Jan Goldsmith said the city was unaware the mayor had an attorney in the Sunroad case, and confirmed that no taxpayer dollars were being spent on Coughlan.

Coughlan's hiring means that Filner has at least two personal attorneys to deal with his legal troubles. Filner hired local employment lawyer Harvey Berger to represent him in a sexual harassment lawsuit filed by his former spokeswoman, Irene McCormack. Last week, the City Council unanimously voted down Filner's request for legal fees and sued Filner for the city's liability in that case.

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Avatar for user 'Mmikey'

Mmikey | August 9, 2013 at 7:36 a.m. ― 3 years, 7 months ago

Looks like they gave filner lots of time to hide and destroy evidence.

( I wonder what kind of perversion was stored on his personal computer ?)

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Avatar for user 'thompsonrichard'

thompsonrichard | August 9, 2013 at 9:25 a.m. ― 3 years, 7 months ago

One day a couple of months ago it took my brother and me two hours and 30 minutes to get across la linea / the border. But people with Sentri passes zipped through. Why are some passports more equal than others?

El Secretario de Estado de los Estados Unidos de América por el presente solicita a las autoridades competentes permitir el paso delciudadano o nacional de los Estados Unidos aquí nombrado, sin demora ni dificultades.

I remember South Bay Assemblyman Pete Chacone saying that a distinguishing attribute of a gentleperson was his or her bilingualism.

"Dos ciudades, pero una region~" as Bob would say.

If you're supporting John Kerry to reduce waiting times at the border, count me as your amigo.

Have you visited the office in Tijuana [Via Corporativo, Mision San Javier 10643 Zona Urbana Rio (Tel: 634-7603)] Mayor Bob Filner set up to improve interdependencia?

Then again, if your joint purpose (with Jerry Sanders, et al) is the undermine Bob Filner then I'll say a few words in choice Spanish: Chacales que el chacal rechazaría piedras que el cardo seco mordería escupiendo víboras que las víboras odiarán..

Oliver Cromwell did say in English to the last trembling members of the Long Parliament: “Depart, I say, and let us have done with you. In the name of God, go!”

Former San Diego Mayor Sanders should stick to his knitting. If he can uninvite his successor to the national headquarters of the Chamber of Commerce, then the $400,000 in dues Qualcomm paid might have something to do with it. Bush doesn't attack Obama. Schwarzenegger doesn't attack Brown. In American political life, we are subject to three kings: President, Governor, Mayor. Sanders should follow an honored role in the Unwritten Constitution.

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Avatar for user 'MarineRoom'

MarineRoom | August 9, 2013 at 1:11 p.m. ― 3 years, 7 months ago


Great comments! Very bad form on the part of the old mayor. On the other hand, there are worse meetings to miss. I agree that Mayor Filner's work on border relations, just like his immediate work on his other campaign promises, started immediately upon accession to office. He has excellent, forward-thinking ideas that he is in the middle of implementing...of course he is a target.

As soon as he can get his romantic demeanor in line with 21st century mores and take a crash course in better project management skills, I look forward to seeing him resume his duties, to which he and he alone was elected. Not his enemies. They were not elected.

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Avatar for user 'Vizaviz'

Vizaviz | August 9, 2013 at 3:15 p.m. ― 3 years, 7 months ago

Yet another ambiguous article from the rumor mill…thanks KPBS

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