ENCINITAS — The San Diego County Sheriff’s Department has cleared 76th Assembly candidate Phil Graham of any wrongdoing after conducting an investigation into an allegation that he forcibly kissed a woman at an Encinitas bar.
The Sheriff’s Department disclosed its findings in a news release Tuesday night, one week before the June 5 primary election.
“After conducting a thorough investigation, interviewing several witnesses and reviewing video surveillance from both inside and outside of the business, detectives disproved the allegations made against Mr. Graham,” the department said in the release. “As a result, this case is being closed as unfounded, pending any new or additional information.”
Graham’s accuser, Niki Burgan, said that Graham forcibly kissed her during the early morning hours of May 14 after a night of drinking at the 1st Street Bar in Encinitas.
But variations in her story to different media outlets and a series of restraining orders filed against Burgan in the past accusing her of filing false reports raised serious doubts about the veracity of her claims.
Graham, the stepson of Pete Wilson, is one of seven candidates in the 76th State Assembly District race. He stridently denied the allegations, which The Coast News first reported last week.
“Earlier today, the San Diego Sheriff’s Office rejected as unfounded a false claim that had been filed against Assembly candidate Phil Graham,” his campaign spokesman Mike Foster said. “We appreciate the prompt action of the Sheriff’s Office in thoroughly investigating the claim, and in determining the truth in this matter.
“Phil will continue his campaign’s focus on the significant issues that matter to all San Diegans, like lowering taxes, creating jobs, and helping our economy grow,” the statement concluded.