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San Diego mayor may quit over harassment claims


The embattled mayor of San Diego, Bob Filner, was on the verge of quitting yesterday after weeks of fending off sexual harassment claims by at least 17 women.

A vote by the city council was expected to confirm his departure, following a negotiated settlement.

But his demand for legal indemnity against the lone lawsuit filed against him, by his former communications director, Irene McCormack Jackson, and for his legal fees to be paid are sticking points.

Mr Filner, pictured, a 70-year-old Democrat elected in November, refused to resign when the scandal first broke in July and announced three weeks ago that he would undergo therapy for his behaviour. He acknowledged that he had disrespected and intimidated women, but denied any sexual harassment.

Ms McCormack Jackson claimed the mayor asked her to work without underwear, demanded kisses and told her he wanted to see her naked. Other accusers include a university dean and a retired US Navy rear admiral. Some contend that he groped and forcibly kissed them.

The high-profile lawyer Gloria Allred, acting for Ms McCormack Jackson, said she had not agreed on a settlement. She does not believe Mr Filner should have his legal bills covered by the city.