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Nichole "Niki" Burgan. File photo
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Phil Graham’s accuser faces criminal charges for filing false report

ENCINITAS — A North County woman who falsely accused former State Assembly candidate Phil Graham of groping and forcibly kissing her now faces criminal charges stemming from her claims. 

According to Superior Court records obtained by The Coast News, the District Attorney’s office has charged Nichole Burgan with misdemeanor filing of a false police report stemming from the claims made during the lead up to the June 5 primary election.

Graham, who failed to advance to the Nov. 6 general election after finishing in third place during the primary, is the stepson of former California Gov. Pete Wilson. 

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 that accused her of filing false reports raised doubts about the veracity of her claims. 

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

Records show that charges were filed against Burgan June 14, and she was arraigned on July 3 and charged with a single misdemeanor count of filing a false report, which carries a maximum sentence of six months in jail and/or a $1,000 fine. 

The criminal complaint alleges that Burgan, on or about and between May 20 and May 23 “did unlawfully report to a peace officer that a misdemeanor had been committed, knowing such report to be false.”

She is scheduled to appear in court Oct. 10 for a readiness conference and a trial date is tentatively scheduled for Oct. 31 at the Superior Court’s North County courthouse. 

The District Attorney’s office declined to comment, citing the pending criminal proceedings. 

Burgan is being represented by the San Diego County Public Defender. The Coast News reached out to Deputy Public Defender Peter Tran, who is handling the case, and will update the story with comment from Tran when we receive it. 

The Coast News also reached out to Graham’s campaign manager Mike Foster, who said that Graham “didn’t push for charges” to be filed against Burgan.

Foster said he would provide a statement from Graham before print publication. 


Larry H October 2, 2018 at 7:54 am

I hope the DA will look at the history of damage this woman has done to other men. She’s attempted to bring charges against many men, including a member of my family who she was engaged to and had arrested, at least one of her ex husband’s (she bragged about it to my family member), and according to previous articles, another boyfriend Josh Elliott. All these men had their good names tarnished and spent their money to defend themselves against her fake accusations. This isn’t just about Phil Graham and I hope the DA realizes that if they don’t pursue this fully, she is just going to continue abusing the criminal justice system and destroying lives.

TruthSeeker October 2, 2018 at 6:57 am

Wow…what happened to “All women must be believed?” Isn’t that the standard of evidence today? Its the standard being applied to Kavenaugh, despite the witnesses saying it didn’t happen.

Lesson? Women lie just as much as men do. Trust no one’s word…instead, look at the evidence, or lack thereof. No one has a “right” to be believed. No one. Heard? Maybe. Believed? No way.

Noel Breen September 17, 2018 at 8:13 am

In the weeks leading up to the primary, the subject of this story filed a false police report against Republican Assembly Candidate Phil Graham. It ruined his campaign, especially after interested groups put out a hit piece to capitalize on the matter. A case could be made that absent this matter, we would be looking at an AD76 election between Elizabeth Warren and Graham, as opposed to the Warren-Horvath race we have now. I hope that the District Attorney finds out if this was linked to a campaign.

Eli Joseph September 13, 2018 at 9:31 am
Good Investigative Journalism September 11, 2018 at 6:12 pm

Wow, this story has really gone viral.It’s now posted on Reddit!

Shame On Her September 10, 2018 at 7:56 pm

I’ve read the previous news coverage about Nichole Burgan and how she was “hiring Gloria Allred”. How dare her use the MeToo movement for her own personal gain by lying and making up a completely false story about an innocent person. Every woman who has ever been sexually assaulted and been a victim that nobody believed or blamed for the assault herself should be extremely angry and offended by this awful woman for making us all look bad and less credible. Shame on her.

Steve September 10, 2018 at 7:42 pm

It makes me so angry that someone like this woman can destroy another person’s way of life like she has done with Phil Graham. Nobody’s reputation should be ruined by a false accusation like this.

Serial Scammer September 10, 2018 at 7:37 pm

I know this chick. I know she has been engaged at least twice maybe 3 times in the past 3 years. So 3 different men in 3 years. She goes for guys she can scam. Seems like she tried to scam Phil Graham this time. She’s a criminal.

Amanda September 10, 2018 at 6:40 pm

I remember reading about this woman in Coast News paper earlier in the summer, and I think the journalist (Aaron Burgin) has done a good job of covering this scandal throughout, including this follow-up story. I am glad to hear that the District Attorney is pressing charges against this woman for her crime. By lying and completely fabricating a false story, she ruined that man’s chances of winning an election because public opinion believed her lies. And by filing a police report and lying about a crime that never happened, she forced the police to have to do an investigation. This investigation cost time and money, which all of us taxpayers had to fund. She completely lied, destroyed an innocent person’s life/career/reputation, and cost us all money since we all pay taxes. I hope that she goes to jail and has to do prison time. She doesn’t deserve to get off easy. I remember reading an article back in June that outlined all of the past crimes she had committed, and the phony restraining orders she filed against people who had never actually done anything to her, and it all seemed like she has a history of trying to extort people for money by threatening them and lying about them to police. I hope that all of her past actions finally catch up to her and that this will finally put her in jail.

JOJO September 10, 2018 at 12:25 pm

Good. About time this black widow has to answer for her crimes. She needs to find Jesus and repent for her misdedes.

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