Embattled San Diego Mayor Bob Filner has announced he will resign following a vote of 7-0 by the San Diego City Council that followed six weeks of sexual harassment allegations. Filner's resignation will take effect on Aug. 30.
Speaking before the committee today, Filner said that he "had no intention to be offensive. ... I have not sexually harassed anyone.
"I was trying to establish personal relationships," Filner said. "I sincerely apologize to all of you. ... For the part that I have played, for putting the city through a difficult time, I apologize."
Moments after Filner spoke, Nicholas Pacilio, a spokesman for the California attorney general, confirmed that a criminal investigation is underway but declined to elaborate, the Associated Press reported.
Before the San Diego City Council's closed door vote, it held a public hearing, which included a testimony from one of Filner's accusers, his former deputy campaign manager Laura Fink, who urged him to resign.
Someone with knowledge of the negotiations told The AP before the vote that the main sticking points had been granting Filner indemnity and covering his legal fees in a sexual harassment lawsuit filed by Irene McCormack Jackson, Filner's former aide. The person was not authorized to comment publicly and spoke only on condition of anonymity.
City Council President Todd Gloria will temporarily replace Filner, and a special election will be held within 90 days, according to the city charter. Today's vote came after a series of allegations in which 18 women came forward, claiming that Filner, 70, had sexually harassed them over the course of his political career.
The City Council had previously said it would not pay Filner's legal fees in Jackson's lawsuit. "The city of San Diego has sued the mayor with unanimous City Council approval," City Attorney Jan Goldsmith said on July 30. "This is part of due process. If Bob Filner engaged in unlawful conduct and the city is held liable, he will have to reimburse us every penny the city pays and its attorney fees."
San Diego City Councilman Scott Sherman told ABC Affiliate KGTV, "It's going to be one of those tough, gut-check decisions, and I'm looking forward to seeing what's in the agreement."
Another city councilman, Kevil Faulconer, released a statement saying, "Protecting taxpayers has always been my top priority. This case is no different. I joined these mediation discussions to ensure the city gets the best deal possible for taxpayers. We must put this civic dysfunction behind us and return to providing city services to San Diegans."
Jackson's lawyer, Gloria Allred, made clear Thursday that the lawsuit had not been settled and mediation was ongoing. Allred had also emphasized that the city should not provide any funds for Filner and suggested the public hold a hearing to voice their opinions about the matter.
"There should be no payoff for Mayor Filner," Allred said.
Filner had defied demands that he resign, including requests from the Democratic Party that he do so.
Filner's attorney, James Payne, issued a statement Thursday saying Filner had returned to work at City Hall on Wednesday and that "Mayor Filner and representatives of the city of San Diego reached a tentative agreement.
"Due to the confidential nature of mediation and settlement discussions, we are unable to comment or make statements about any of the terms," the statement read.
Filner was the first Democratic mayor elected in San Diego since 1992. He began his tenure last December.
A recall effort also began on Aug. 18 to garner enough verified signatures for an election to remove him.