The juror pool for the trial of San Francisco Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi on domestic violence charges began being winnowed down Wednesday afternoon, but remaining in the pool is a former colleague of Mirkarimi's -- Supervisor Eric Mar.
Mar, who served alongside Mirkarimi on the City's Board of Supervisors before Mirkarimi was elected sheriff in November, was one of 196 potential jurors who gathered Wednesday at the San Francisco Hall of Justice for initial instructions about the case.
Mirkarimi has pleaded not guilty to misdemeanor charges of domestic violence battery, child endangerment and dissuading a witness in connection with a Dec. 31 incident in which he allegedly bruised his wife Eliana Lopez's arm during an argument.
Lopez has denied the charges against her husband.
When Judge Garrett Wong, who is overseeing the trial, told the potential jurors the name of the defendant in the case, many began murmuring to each other.
The potential jurors then were asked if they have any hardships that would prevent them from serving in the trial, which Wong estimated would be done by March 16.
Roughly half of the 196 potential jurors declared hardships, while the other half -- including Mar -- filled out questionnaires asking them a variety of questions.
Mar said after filling out the questionnaire that he did not know when he responded to jury duty Wednesday that the case would involve his former board colleague.
Earlier Wednesday, prosecutors and Lopez's attorney Paula Canny sparred in court over a key piece of evidence in the case, a 55-second video recorded on Jan. 1 by the couple's neighbor Ivory Madison that reportedly shows Lopez crying, pointing to the bruise on her arm and recounting the incident.
Canny argued that the video should be excluded from evidence because it was made under the guise of attorney-client privilege, since Madison represented herself as an attorney although she only graduated from law school and is not a licensed attorney.
Prosecutor Lindsay Hoopes countered that every single reference to Madison in statements by Lopez already in evidence have identified her as "a neighbor and friend," not an attorney.
Wong denied Canny's motion, saying that while Lopez may be the holder of attorney-client privilege, "the evidence is not being used against her" so the motion lacks standing.