NEWPORT BEACH — Prosecutors said Wednesday that they have dropped criminal charges against a terminally ill AIDS patient who was accused of deliberately spitting in a woman's eyes at a rally last year for then-presidential candidate Bill Clinton.
Deputy Dist. Atty. Christopher Kralick said the district attorney's office withdrew the charges because the accused, David Mazer, 45, of San Clemente, agreed to pay the woman a sum of money to settle the case.
Lawyers for both Mazer and the woman he is accused of attacking have agreed to keep terms of the settlement confidential, Kralick said.
Mazer's attorney, Marshall Schulman, declined comment beyond saying, "I'm glad that it's all behind us and everyone can get on with their lives now."
But Kralick said Mazer's rapidly deteriorating health was a significant consideration in the decision to settle the case. Mazer is at the terminal stage of AIDS, Kralick said.
Mazer was due to appear in Municipal Court on Tuesday to answer a misdemeanor charge that he spat in the eyes of 73-year-old Elizabeth Mimm of Mission Viejo. It was the first Orange County case in which a defendant was accused of using AIDS as a weapon in an assault, officials said.
The incident occurred in October, 1992, outside a Clinton rally at the Pacific Amphitheatre in Costa Mesa. Mimm, who was holding a placard supporting then-President George Bush, when Mazer approached her, screamed that Bush was the reason why he was infected with the virus that causes AIDS and then spat in her eyes.
Prosecutors rejected a police recommendation that a felony charge of assault with intent to commit murder be filed against Mazer, saying there is no medical evidence that saliva alone can transmit the deadly human immunodeficiency virus, which causes AIDS.
Mimm, who has tested negative for HIV, filed a civil suit against Mazer, alleging that she lives in fear of contracting AIDS and that Mazer intentionally inflicted emotional distress and harm during the incident.
Mimm, however, agreed to ask prosecutors to drop the criminal case as part of the settlement of her civil lawsuit.