“Okay, if you’re just tuning in — uh — the mayor is in the hot seat again,” says U-T TV’s Taylor Baldwin at the start of one of her Primetime programs recorded sometime this week (“U-T Watchdog: Rendezvous on video”) and posted on the U-T's website.
“More sexual allegations have come out,” continues Baldwin. “We’ve got some video — incriminating video — our Trent Seibert brought us from our Watchdogs. I want you to tell us all about this video,” she says, turning to U-T Watchdog reporter Seibert.
“Sure, and I just want to let you know, we came right here first so your viewers would be first to see this video,” says Seibert, who is employed by the same company. Then the video — “taken back in 2010,” says Seibert — gets rolling. (Filner’s second marriage ended in divorce in 2009.)
Over a banner that reads “Mayor Scandal Continues; More Sexual Assault Allegations,” the camera frames a white sedan identified as Filner’s rental car sitting unoccupied in a parking lot. Seibert gives video credit to a “friend of the U-T Watchdog…a guy named Derrick Roach.”
The footage then skips to Bob Filner sitting in the passenger seat of a dark BMW sedan. In the driver’s seat is a short-haired brunette wearing sunglasses. After the mayor turns to open the door, Seibert says to Baldwin, “We're seeing sort of an — here’s the debate: Is that an intimate moment? What are we seeing?”
Before Filner gets out of the car and heads toward his rental, the video shows him facing the woman, his head tilted closer to the car’s centerline than it is hovering over his own seat. He’s got a smile on his face. The woman sits upright in the driver’s seat, her head facing Filner as they share parting words.
“One of the reasons I wanted to bring this video, especially to you,” Seibert tells Baldwin, “is you’ve got a, you’ve got a good sixth sense when it comes to emotion, when it comes to men and women and relationships — ”
“I’ve seen about — I’ve seen it all in my time, Trent, believe me!” Baldwin says in a playful outburst.
Resumes Seibert, “So, I wanted to get your sense of what is going on here because all day we’ve been talking about harassment — I don’t know if I’m seeing…you know, the allegations that we heard about the mayor today, are sexual harassment allegations, I’m not seeing — ”
“From several women, not just one, not just [unintelligible]…” says Baldwin.
“You’re absolutely correct, that the allegations — ‘numerous’ is the term that was used. Are... But, looking at this video, and looking at some of the photos — if we can pop up these photos again, um, I'd like to show your viewers...”
"I feel like the photos are more incriminating," says Baldwin. "Let's show the viewer the photos, shall we?" Baldwin then states that she had a chance to view the images earlier.
“The photos can be seen one of two ways," continues Baldwin. "This could be a woman whoo…you know, enjoys his company…. Or he’s moved in on her and she’s trying to survive the moment, buy the time…uh, she could be uncomfortable — women get uncomfortable and they smile and…there’s no kiss, so she could be, like, ‘Okay, I’ll see you later.’”
Seibert interrupts Baldwin to say that Roach, the videographer, “says there was a kiss, and that there was intimacy. So I wanted to let you know…”
Unfortunately for viewers, the kiss wasn’t captured on video.
That was the thrust of the segment, and then, following a bit of banter, Baldwin drops one of her own bombshells about Mayor Filner:
“He loves women. He made that apparent to me the moment he met me, in front of witnesses, he would — and he had a fiancée. I mean, this was before they — you know… He just recently — the fiancée just recently broke up with him, but, while he had a fiancée he was, like, ‘Whoa, you are so beautiful. Are you single? Are you single? Are you married? Are you married? You want to be the first lady of San Diego?’
“I mean, he was all over me. It was crazy. And there was police ch — police chiefs there. And it made me feel cheap. It made me feel uncomfortable. And I just kind of laughed it off. I did that, ‘I’m gonna survive the moment thing’… He asked to take a picture and then I got away.”
Baldwin didn’t specify a date of the encounter.
Then, adding fairness and balance to the story, Seibert gives the mayor the benefit of the doubt: “Maybe if I were a congressman, I would use that, ‘Helloooo, I’m a congressman.’ I don’t know… What do you…”
“That’s a big…yeah,” responds Baldwin.
“Is that a turn-on?” says Seibert. “I don’t…I don’t know.”
“For some women,” answers Baldwin. “I mean, these, you know, some women go after athletes because of that. It’s a power thing for them.” (Baldwin divorced her second husband, Joe Vitiello, in 2009. Vitiello played for the Kansas City Royals, San Diego Padres, and Montreal Expos before leaving Major League Baseball in 2003.)
”No one comes after journalists, let me assure you,” says Seibert, adding a bit of levity.
“Maybe after this,” jokes Baldwin, smiling, leaning toward Seibert, pointing at him, gripping his forearm. Seibert smiles.