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Graham accuser given second chance on probation

ENCINITAS — A Superior Court judge has reinstated the probation of a woman who falsely accused former State Assembly candidate Phil Graham of sexual misconduct, giving her a second chance to comply with the requirements. 

Nichole Burgan was sentenced in February to two days in county jail and three years probation after pleading guilty to a misdemeanor charge of filing a false report with the Sheriff’s Department in connection to her allegations against Graham.

Her sentence included a 90-day jail term that was stayed pending completion of her probation, $655 fine, 10 days public works service and a mental health evaluation.

Earlier this week, a different judge ruled that Burgan has already violated the terms of her probation and scheduled an evidentiary hearing April 19 to determine if Burgan will go to jail for the full 90 days. 

At Friday’s hearing, it was revealed that Burgan had only completed half of her two-day sentence and had not started the process of her mental health evaluation with the County Department of Behavioral Health Services.

Burgan, according to her attorney, said she hadn’t started the evaluation because she hadn’t received the paperwork from the public defender’s office. 

Judge Sim Von Kalinowski, who conducted Friday’s hearing and also sentenced Burgan in February, reinstated the probation, but ordered her to serve her custody beginning 8 p.m. April 19 and to at least the process of scheduling the mental health evaluation by no later than Monday, April 22. 

Von Kalinowski also gave Burgan 30 days to complete the mental health evaluation and ordered that she follow through on any recommendations that arise from the evaluation.

If Burgan fails to comply with the conditions, Von Kalinowski said it would result in Burgan likely going to jail for at least some of the 90 days, which remain stayed.

Burgan in 2018 told the media that Graham, the Republican front runner in the assembly race, forcibly kissed her during the early morning hours of May 14, 2018, after a night of drinking at the 1st Street Bar in Encinitas.

She later filed a police report, which prompted a San Diego Sheriff’s Department investigation of her claims.

But variations in her story to different media outlets and a series of restraining orders filed against Burgan in the past that accused her of filing false reports raised doubts about the veracity of her claims. 

The Sheriff’s Department investigated and disproved the claims after reviewing video surveillance inside and outside of the bar and interviewing several witnesses.

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