AP NEWS

DA orders probe of detective’s cases amid perjury allegation

December 27, 2019 GMT

NEW YORK (AP) — Prosecutors in Westchester County said Thursday they were reviewing all cases involving a retiring Yonkers police detective accused of falsifying a search warrant application.

The Westchester County district attorney, Anthony A. Scarpino, announced the review two weeks after a man he described as “wrongly accused” filed a federal lawsuit against Detective Sean Fogarty and several of his colleagues.

“If we determine that any conviction was the result of an illegal action by Det. Fogarty, we will immediately move to vacate the conviction,” Scarpino said in a news release.

A spokeswoman said prosecutors do not know how many cases Fogarty handled because their review just began.

Fogarty did not immediately return a call seeking comment. The Yonkers Police Department declined to comment.

Fogarty had been assigned to a U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration task force when he and other officers searched the Bronx home of tax preparer Calvin Powell in April 2018.

Powell lives with his family in the first-floor apartment of a building he owns; the lawsuit says he rents out the second and third floors.

According to the lawsuit, Fogarty and the other officers had the authority to search the first two floors of the building but also broke into the third floor, where they found “a large quantity” of cocaine, crack cocaine and drug paraphernalia inside a locked closet.

At the time of the search, Powell had been on probation after serving a 10-year federal sentence for selling cocaine.

The lawsuit says the officers “falsely claimed” they found the drugs in Powell’s possession.

Powell was jailed for more than four months before prosecutors dropped drug-related charges against him, the lawsuit says.

A criminal court judge ordered a review of the evidence after Powell’s attorney claimed photographs of the search proved the narcotics had been found on the third floor, the lawsuit says.

Prosecutors dismissed the charges in September 2018, the lawsuit says, after conceding the evidence had been found on the third floor of the apartment.

The lawsuit says Powell’s father died while he was in custody and that he was denied the opportunity to be with him during his finals days because of the false drug charges.

A DEA spokeswoman referred questions about Fogarty to the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Manhattan, which declined to comment.