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San Diego mayor didn't get sexual harassment training, lawyer says

Sam Hodgson / REUTERS

The seal of the city of San Diego adorns the entrance to the San Diego City Hall in San Diego, California July 30, 2013. The city of San Diego sued its embattled mayor Bob Filner on Tuesday, seeking to recover from him any damages it might face in a lawsuit filed by his former press secretary, one of eight women to publicly accuse him of unwanted sexual advances. Picture taken July 30, 2013. REUTERS/Sam Hodgson (UNITED STATES - Tags: POLITICS CRIME LAW)

Gregory Bull / AP

San Diego Mayor Bob Filner looks down at the podium as he speaks during a news conference at city hall, while a group of city workers look on, Friday, July 26, 2013, in San Diego. Filner said Friday he will undergo therapy after less than a year in office amid allegations that he sexually harassed women. Filner announced his plan for a two-week stay beginning Aug. 5. in a behavioral clinic after a series of women claimed he kissed, groped and placed them in headlocks. (AP Photo/Gregory Bull)

Fred Greaves / REUTERS

San Diego mayor Bob Filner speaks at a news conference in San Diego, California July 26, 2013. Filner apologized on Friday for his conduct towards women and what he called his "failure to respect" them, and said he would take a two-week leave for therapy rather than resign. REUTERS/Fred Greaves (UNITED STATES - Tags: POLITICS)

Fred Greaves / REUTERS

San Diego mayor Bob Filner speaks at a news conference in San Diego on July 26, 2013.

San Diego Mayor Bob Filner has never received sexual harassment training, said his lawyer in a letter to the city attorney’s office.

NBC 7 has obtained a letter from attorneys representing Filner in a sexual harassment suit brought by former employee Irene McCormack Jackson. Jackson claimed that Filner sexually harassed her multiple times, and filed a lawsuit through prominent attorney Gloria Allred.

The city has refused to pay for Filner's legal fees in the lawsuit, citing conflict of interest.

But Filner’s lawyer states that if the city had provided mandatory sexual harassment training within the time allotted, Jackson may never have filed the case.

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Eight women have publicly come forward claiming Filner sexually harassed them, but Jackson has been the only person to make the claim while Filner was mayor.  Many of the women recalled incidents that allegedly occurred during Filner's 10 terms in Congress.

“The City has a legal obligation to provide sexual harassment training to all management level employees,” wrote Filner’s lawyer Harvey Berger. “The City failed to provide such training to Mayor Filner.”

Berger also states that Filner never received such training as a U.S. Representative and may not know what indicates sexual harassment.

“This is not an excuse for any inappropriate behavior which may have occurred, but I have learned that many – if not most – people do not know what is and what is not illegal sexual harassment under California law," Berger stated.

It appears if Filner is found liable in the current claim, his defense attorneys are planning on laying blame on the City of San Diego.

They use that as a case to persuade city leaders to put aside politics and “unverified and public statements” into account when deciding whether to defend the mayor.

If the city fails to fund Filner’s defense, his attorneys claim “It will be a political, not a rational decision.”

NBC 7 checked on rules and regulations regarding what training is required for members of Congress.

Congressional representatives are not required to receive ethics training, but are advised to have it. Even if a member did take ethics training, the House of Representatives does not divulge the contents of the training.

Congressional staff members are required to take ethics training, but the content of that training is also confidential.