EL PASO, Texas - Former City Representative Ann Morgan Lilly says surveillance video shows her husband did not assault the mayor's wife during a heated argument in a West El Paso restaurant.
"The whole thing was so minor I just can't believe the police have gotten involved and charges were brought against my husband and they have now been dropped by the DA because there wasn't enough evidence," Lilly said.
Through an open records request, ABC-7 obtained a copy of the video showing an altercation between Mayor Oscar Leeser, his wife Lisa Leeser, Lilly, and her husband at a West Side restaurant on December 20, 2016. It happened hours after an emotional city hall meeting during which city council voted to exclude the Duranguito neighborhood from a list of sites under consideration to build a downtown arena.
Leeser said the argument started when the Lillys told him they were disappointed in City Council's decision.
Below is the video of the incident with Mayor Leeser's point of view.
The incident resulted in the Mayor calling the police and his wife, Lisa Leeser, filing an assault charge against Rut Lilly, husband of Ann Morgan Lilly. Lisa Leeser said Rut Lilly shoved her, a police report states.
The former city rep, in turn, filed an ethics complaint against Leeser for what she alleged was abuse of power by misusing police resources.
The confrontation happened at about 7:30 p.m. on Dec. 20 at Thyme Matters on North Mesa. It was recorded inside the restaurant and shows the Mayor approaching the Lilly's table as he enters the restaurant.
Below is the video of the incident with Edward Rut Lilly's point of view.
After a short conversation, Leeser sits down at a table with his wife. Moments later, Ann Morgan Lilly gets up and goes to the Mayor's table to speak with him and then she leaves the restaurant.
A few minutes later, Rut Lilly approach the Mayor and his wife at their table. The Mayor stands up with what appears to be his phone in his hand and that's where the altercation occurs. Lisa Leeser stands up between the two men.
She told police, "At that point, Mr. Lilly either tried to grab or push the phone out of Oscar's hands. At that point he actually shoved me trying to get to the phone. It was very aggressive and when he shoved me I felt shocked and offended."
Mr. Lilly told police she may have brushed against him as she stood up.
"I had no intentions of ever touching Mrs. Leeser," he told police. "I had no intent to offend Mrs. Leeser. Once I realized how childish all of this was, I walked out."
ABC-7 asked Ann Morgan Lilly what she saw in the video.
"I just see Rut going up there and Rut said, he was trying to talk to Oscar and put his hand up, not grab the phone, just put his hand up so he could say something," Ann Morgan Lilly said. "If the two witnesses in the other table didn't notice any altercation, I would say that the police didn't need to come. No push, no shove."
ABC-7 was told by a spokeswoman Leeser was not available for comment Friday.
Although Class C misdemeanor charges were sought against Rut Lilly, District Attorney Jaime Esparza declined to prosecute citing not enough evidence.
After the incident, Ann Lilly filed an ethics complaint against Leeser, but on a statement included in the police documents obtained by ABC-7 and dated December 29, Lilly wrote, "I, Ann Morgan Lilly, withdraw my Ethics Complaint against Oscar Leeser, Mayor of El Paso, TX. filed December 22, 2016."
"I changed my mind because every time I read an article in the paper it says my husband shoved Mrs. Leeser, and he didn't, he didn't shove her," Ann Morgan Lilly said. "And this video shows that he didn't shove her."
Earlier this week, the city attorney's office returned her ethics complaint saying it lacked information but she could amend it.
"I am working through that complaint," she said, before being asked if she was going to re-file it. "Well I don't know. I'll see what kind of information I come up with. I have 15 days to gather that information."
ABC-7 did not receive a video recorded by Mayor Leeser's phone. It is unclear whether he recorded anything, whether that video was part of the investigation or whether it was withheld by police.