After six weeks in which lurid allegations of sexual misconduct made it impossible for him to focus on anything else, San Diego Mayor Bob Filner decided to issue his resignation. But the former 10-term congressman only stepped down after receiving assurances from the City Council that San Diego would help pay for his legal fees as well as any settlement costs, reports the Associated Press. Filner was defiant until the very end. Although he apologized to his accusers, he continued to insist he had been victimized by “the hysteria of the lynch mob” that kept growing as more women stepped forward to accuse him of harassment. Overall some 18 women accused him of improper conduct, notes the Los Angeles Times.
Filner insisted on raising questions about the real motives behind his accusers. “I started my political career facing lynch mobs and I think we have just faced one here in San Diego and you’re going to have to deal with that,” he said. “In a lynch-mob mentality, rumors become allegations, allegations become facts, facts become evidence of sexual harassment, which have led to demands for my resignation and recall. Not one allegation … has even been independently verified or proven in court. I have never sexually harassed anyone.” Still, despite insisting he meant no harm, he recognized that “the city should not have been put through this, and my own personal failings were responsible.”
The San Diego Union Tribune claims that Filner’s “end wasn’t surprising” to those who knew him. He “always prided himself on his passion — hard-charging, head-knocking, not always in control of himself, a crash waiting to happen.” What was perhaps most surprising was that he ended up accepting that he could not remain in office.