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San Diego Mayor Bob Filner may be negotiating with the city attorney on a deal that would include his stepping down, 10News reports. Last week, the San Francisco Chronicle reported that California's attorney general was working with the San Diego sheriff on possible criminal charges. The 10News report offers some possible insight into why Filner has insisted on staying in office, despite being accused of inappropriate touching or sexual harassment by 16 women.

Deals trading political office for lighter legal response are a proud American tradition. A quick search for "plea deal resign from office" yields a number of examples. Detroit mayor Kwame Kilpatrick resigning as part of a deal following obstruction of justice charges. A sheriff in Idaho. The New York state comptroller. The lieutenant governor of South Carolina. Former California congressman Duke Cunningham.

Had Filner resigned before reaching a deal, he would have lost that point of leverage. That's assuming that the negotiations are happening — the report is based on multiple anonymous sources. Those sources placed the mayor at the building housing the San Diego offices of the U.S. Attorney.

Over the weekend, the group advocating for a recall of Filner began its push to collect the 100,000-plus signatures needed to get the issue on the ballot, according to the Los Angeles Times. It's a goal that the group would need to meet within 39 days.

Filner is not without his champions. Supporters held a rally in San Diego today offering the public assurances about their mayor.

With friends like this, a plea deal sounds like a decent option.

Via Talking Points Memo.

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