Charges Filed Against Man Who Allegedly Threatened Lawyer


A former Watertown man has been charged with threatening the lawyer who represents the deputy suing the Jefferson County sheriff's department for $50 million.

State police say 35 year old Rodney Sanford allegedly called attorney Charu Narang last month and threatened her if she did not drop the case.

State police say their investigation determined "no member of law enforcement, specifically any member of the Jefferson County Sheriffs Department, had any involvement in placing the calls, and no official misconduct existed."

Narang represents Deputy Krystal Rice, who is suing the sheriff department for sexual harassment.

Rice alleges that  Detective Steven Cote took topless photos of her, supposedly to use for catching online sexual predators.

Narang told 7 News in April that she had received a call threatening her to drop the case or the sheriff's office would make it difficult for her to practice law in New York state.

Narang said the caller also told her deputies would make her life unbearable and pull her over every time she drove her car.

Sanford, who now lives in East Syracuse, is charged with second degree aggravated harassment.

Troopers say they could find no ties Sanford had to law enforcement, nor any indication he has a personal relationship with anyone in law enforcement, including members of the sheriff's department named in the lawsuit.

Sanford told police he made the call on his own and was not under the direction of anyone associated with law enforcement.

Police say he told them "he wanted to help his friends in the sheriff's department."

Sanford was arraigned in Hounsfield town court and released pending further court action.

Meanwhile, Detective Cote has been reassigned to uniform patrol duty.

Sheriff John Burns would not comment the reason for the change or if it was related to the lawsuit.

Burns did say Cote is still a detective and that the reassignment is temporary.

See our story about the threat.

See our story about the lawsuit.

Tuesday, December 6, 2016
, Watertown, NY

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