Perjury charges to be refiled against former Watkins Glen Sergeant in Charge & wife; Grand Jury testimony this week

Regional News

WATKINS GLEN, N.Y. (WETM) – Perjury charges were dismissed with leave to represent in the case against former Watkins Glen Sergeant in Charge Brandon Matthews and his wife Danielle.

According to the Matthews’ attorney Matt Buzzetti, the Matthews were “denied their right to testify before the Grand Jury.”

Yates County District Attorney Todd Casella, who served as a Special Prosecutor in the case, tells 18 News that the charges will be refiled and Matthews will have the opportunity to testify on Friday.

Brandon Matthews was charged with eight counts of Perjury 1st Degree, and one count of Official Misconduct. Danielle Matthews was charged with two counts of Perjury 1st Degree, and one count of Perjury 3rd Degree.

At the time of his arrest, Brandon Matthews was employed as a police officer by the Watkins Glen Police Department. Matthews was placed on administrative leave in August 2020 and removed as the Sergeant in Charge with the Watkins Glen Police Department in October 2020.

Attorney Daniel Rubin, who represents Watkins Glen Mayor Luke Leszyk and the village, told 18 News following Matthews arrest that he was on leave from the department. 18 News has reached out to Rubin for an update on Matthews’ status.

The perjury charges come amid the discovery of several pages of depositions given by Brandon and Danielle Matthews in relation to a lawsuit filed against Leszyk, which was dismissed on Nov. 30, 2021. On Dec. 14, Buzzetti told 18 News there was “never a motion filed to dismiss” the case and he would be filing a motion to reinstate it with the court.

In February 2021, a notice of claim was filed by former Watkins Glen Sergeant in Charge Brandon Matthews and his family against Watkins Glen Mayor Luke Leszyk for alleged sexual harassment and abuse of power.

Several pages of depositions given by the Matthews filed with the court show Danielle Matthews alleged Leszyk inappropriately touched her between 50-100 times between 2012 and the time of her deposition, but said she was “not going to be able to give specific years.”

During his own deposition, Brandon Matthews admitted to an Oct. 2017 incident where one of his young children fired his service revolver in their home. Matthews said the revolver was locked inside a lockbox and the child found a key. Matthews said he notified the department and he was not disciplined, nor were criminal charges filed.

In a July 15, 2021, sworn affidavit signed by Brandon Matthews, he alleged approaches by Leszyk towards Danielle that “were sexual in nature in return for protection of my job.”

According to court documents filed on Nov. 30, the lawsuit filed by the Matthews against Leszyk was dismissed because the complaint “fails to allege any facts that support any element to the proposed clauses of action.”

The Matthews’ first entered the spotlight amid a July 29, 2020, New York State Police investigation at their home, which the family alleged was “retaliation” by Leszyk.

The lawsuit claimed there were more than 20 officers, a K-9, and a helicopter sent to their home during the raid.

State Police reported in an affidavit for a search warrant that a Barbara Barber, later identified as the girlfriend of Danielle Matthews’ brother Raymond Brown, testified that she saw approximately 200 marijuana plants in a garage owned by the Matthews. Barber stated that Brown and Brandon Matthews allegedly tended to the marijuana plants.

On July 14, 2020, State Police used an infrared camera mounted to a helicopter that flew over the residence, which showed “obvious high heat inside the building” and “hot spots” indicating a marijuana grow operation.

According to the search warrant for the July 29, 2020, raid, police recovered 41 marijuana plants in various stages of growth, marijuana, digital scales, packaging materials, marijuana seeds, and stolen property. The stolen property consisted of digital cameras, chargers and cables, Motorola radio, whistles, assorted MMA equipment, assorted fishing equipment, tent poles, and stakes.

The search warrant consisted of a single-family home, a one car garage, a large pole barn, and a shed.

In October 2020 a grand jury decided not to indict either of the Matthews in connection to the home invasion.

The Schuyler County Grand Jury found that the charges of Criminal Possession of Marihüâña in the Second Degree and Criminal Possession of Stolen Property in the Fourth Degree were not justified, and therefore, by this action of the Grand Jury, the iñvcstigation is closed withcat charges.

On Feb. 26, 2021, the Village of Watkins Glen Board of Trustees ordered Matthews to undergo a Fitness for Duty Evaluation due to sworn testimony Matthews made under oath on December 23, 2020, that allegedly included Matthews’ questioning his ability to work with other officers and his mental wellbeing.

The evaluation by a Licensed Psychologist found “Officer Bandon Matthews is psychologically fit for duty as a police officer for the Village of Watkins Glen.”

The Matthews were arraigned in the Schuyler County Jail and later released.

Following Matthews’ arrest, Mayor Leszyk declined to comment on the latest developments in the case and referred 18 News to the village attorney.

This is a developing story and 18 News will have more information as it becomes available.

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