The Marin County District Attorney’s Office has decided not to file misdemeanor battery charges against Sausalito Councilman and Vice-Mayor Michael Kelly but will hold a citation hearing on the issue instead. Councilwoman Carolyn Ford accused Kelly of hitting her hand during a Sept. 13 City Council meeting. Marin County District Attorney Ed Berberian said in a news release today the technical elements of battery were present, but in lieu of filing formal charges, Kelly will instead appear at the hearing in the district attorney’s office Monday.
The hearing will include a factual review of the incident and a discussion of the legal elements of the crime of battery, Berberian said. Citation hearings occur often after the district attorney’s office decides not to file charges in the interest of justice, Berberian said. The hearing will not bar the filing of formal charges during the next 12 months and could include new charges if a new incident occurs, Berberian said. “I don’t think there will be another incident,” Berberian said. Kelly has not responded this week to inquiries about the incident. Ford said she was asking the city’s Public Works Director Jonathon Goldman a question at the meeting but Kelly and Mayor Herb Weiner started talking and she couldn’t hear Goldman’s response.
“I held up my hand and said ‘shush’ while still focusing on the PW Director,” she said in a written statement. “I put my hand back down and Mike Kelly hit it hard. I was shocked,” Ford said. “He said, ‘Don’t shush me for Christ’s sake.’ I said, ‘Don’t hit me.’ He said, ‘Don’t put your hand on my side of the table.’ I told him he had sunk to a new low,” Ford said. Ford said she reluctantly decided to file a charge against Kelly and there has been verbal abuse on the council for more than a year.
Kelly apologized to Ford at Tuesday’s meeting, but Ford changed her seat at the meeting. She now sits between Councilwoman Linda Pfeifer and Mayor Herb Weiner. Ford said she accepted the apology, but still wanted to pursue filing an assault charge against Kelly and plans to meet with the district attorney’s office. Berberian said Ford is aware of the hearing and has no objection to it. Ford did not immediately return a call for comment this afternoon.
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