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SF sheriff's domestic violence trial set for Feb. 24
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SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — San Francisco's sheriff stands trial next month on misdemeanor domestic violence charges stemming from a New Year's Eve dispute with his wife.

A judge on Monday set a Feb. 24 trial date for Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi, who had requested a speedy trial. He said he wanted to reunite soon with his wife and 2-year-old son, whom he's prohibited from contacting until the case is resolved.

Mirkarimi, 50, caused a bruise to the arm of Eliana Lopez, a former Venezuelan telenovela star whom he married after having their first child in 2009, prosecutors said.

Lopez had the injury recorded on video by a neighbor who later reported it to authorities, according to a police affidavit. Publicly, however, Lopez has defended her husband, saying the incident was taken out of context and that she has no complaint against him.

The newly sworn-in sheriff has pleaded not guilty to misdemeanor charges of domestic violence battery, child endangerment and dissuading a witness.

Mirkarimi did not speak during the brief Monday morning court hearing, where the judge also set a pretrial hearing for Feb. 16.

Outside court, his attorney Robert Waggener called it "one of the more overblown cases I have seen in 28 years," citing the amount of publicity surrounding the case and the quality of evidence against his client.