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GOP primary for Erie County Sheriff heats up with new allegations

Controversial case from 2008 is rehashed
Posted at 5:18 PM, Jun 10, 2021

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — The rare Republican primary race for Erie County Sheriff continues to escalate.

Former Buffalo Police detective John Garcia on Thursday made allegations about his opponent’s time on the Buffalo police force. Endorsed Republican Karen Healy-Case shot back with personal allegations about Garcia.

Garcia produced documents Thursday showing that Healy-Case, a former Buffalo Police lieutenant, signed an affidavit in 2008 vouching for a prosecutor and friend who was later disbarred and jailed.

“My opponent does not have the integrity to serve in this office,” Garcia said at a mid-morning news conference in front of the sheriff’s office.

The allegation involves a major Buffalo controversy from more than a decade ago, when former assistant district attorney Anne Adams was sentenced to 15 days in prison for trying to cover up a drunk driving charge against her from 2008.

Adams, who was later disbarred from the practice of law, submitted a false blood sample that was backdated by her doctor. State Supreme Court Justice Joseph Makowski resigned his judgeship for his role in the scheme.

In the signed affidavit released by Garcia, Healy-Case touted her police credentials and stated that she knew Adams “professionally and personally for over 15 years” and she said Adams “did not sound the least bit intoxicated” despite a breath test showing otherwise.

“In my opinion, my opponent is totally incompetent or corrupt,” Garcia said. “I believe it's both.”

7 Eyewitness News wanted to talk to Healy-Case to give her the opportunity to explain the affidavit on camera. She declined the request, but her campaign went on the offensive.

GOP political consultant Chris Grant called news coverage of the issue “sexist” and said he has proof that Garcia filed for bankruptcy in 2002.

“Karen Case is an accomplished, honest, decorated lieutenant with an exemplary record of service,” he said in a statement. “We look forward to the same in-depth examination of John Garcia’s personal bankruptcy from the same period as this apparent breaking news from 2007.”

Healy-Case and Garcia will face off in a June 22 primary to replace outgoing Sheriff Timothy Howard.

Democrats Brian Gould, Kimberly Beaty and Myles Carter will battle for the vote in the Democratic primary.

The general election is Nov. 2.