Mayor Breed to appoint interim public defender following Adachi's death

The medical examiner’s office says the manner and cause of death for San Francisco Public Defender Jeff Adachi is still under investigation.

The city's public defender’s office and district attorney spoke out on Monday about what his loss means to the city-- even as rumors swirl around the circumstances surrounding his death.

Jeff Adachi's unexpected death Friday night has shaken San Francisco, and both sides of the criminal justice system.

Matt Gonzalez the public defender's chief attorney, is currently heading up the office following Adachi's death. He said his friend and colleague was a champion for justice.

"He was just a fierce fighter for the underdog, for the downtrodden, and he brought all of it for the fights," said Gonzalez.

The circumstances surrounding Adachi's death are still emerging. The police report offered some details, including that the medical examiner’s office told responding officers that they had no reason to believe the home where the 911 call was made about Adachi on Friday night was a crime scene.

Officers have reported Adachi was at the home with a woman who identified herself as Caterina. She told police Adachi started complaining about feeling ill over dinner. She told officers she went to a store to get some kind of medication for the public defender. He later became unresponsive and she used his phone to call for help.

Gonzalez said at this point he would like to see the investigation to play out, rather than succumb to rumors. "There is no evidence that drugs were involved, there is no evidence that there was prostitution. What you have is someone that had dinner, had some wine, and in effect died of a heart attack," said Gonzalez.

Across the aisle, for the prosecution, District Attorney George Gascon began a news conference Monday with a show of respect for his sometime adversary.

"Before we start this I would ask all of us if we have a moment of silence for Jeff Adachi, I'll say a few words about him afterwards," said San Francisco District Attorney George Gascón, honoring a man he said he didn't always agree with, but always respected.

"His legacy can best be summed up in this: Jeff was fierce in his pursuit for justice as he felt that it was appropriate," said Gascón.

Gascon said Adachi should be afforded some measure of privacy. "I don't think any of us is perfect, and I think that there are personal things that are personal," said Gascón.

We also got an idea of how the office will be filled. Mayor London Breed will appoint a successor to Adachi, who will serve until the next election, November of this year, when the people of San Francisco will vote for the next public defender.