California DA who had affair with former prostitute now person of interest in arson

A California prosecutor has found himself in the middle of an arson investigation that also exposed his previous affair with a former prostitute, who was once charged in connection with the death of her boyfriend.

The head-scratcher of a case came to light when the Yuba City home of Sarah Garibay, 32, went up in flames on July 21. Investigators, who believe the blaze was deliberately set, were surprised when Sutter County District Attorney Carl Adams took an unusual interest in the case, even showing up at the scene a day later.

No arrests have been made, but police in the Northern California city are now focusing on two men who were sexually involved with the mother of three, including Adams, according to an affidavit filed in Sutter County Superior Court. Garibay, who was arrested last week on charges of extortion, told detectives that Adams — the county’s district attorney since 1982 and the president of  the California District Attorney’s Association — was jealous of her involvement with other men, according to authorities.


Adams, a married father of three, initially denied a sexual link to Garibay, but later confessed after being confronted by detectives with Garibay’s statement and phone records. He declined to discuss his relationship to Garibay or the arson investigation when contacted by

"The personal part of this is just that — personal, and will be resolved with my wife, my pastor and God," Adams wrote in an email. "The arson part of it is an ongoing police investigation and I had nothing to do with the arson so I am content to let their investigation run its course."

Roberto Marquez, Garibay’s attorney, told that Garibay is shocked that Adams has been connected to the arson investigation.

"Never once did she list him as a potential suspect," Marquez said Tuesday. "She's upset and saddened that [Adams] is being dragged through the mud and seeing his reputation being sullied."

Garibay acknowledged a brief “inappropriate, romantic relationship” with Adams earlier this year during an exclusive interview on Monday with the Appeal-Democrat. She said she does not believe, however, that Adams is responsible for the fire at her home last month.

Adams is the “least likely person” behind the blaze, she told the newspaper, adding that it’s “ludicrous to assume” Sutter County’s top prosecutor and former instructor for the California Department of Forestry and the State Fire Marshal’s Office was involved.

“Someone is trying to smear him and they’re using my name to do it,” she told the newspaper.

Adams, according to the affidavit, aroused suspicions with police investigators following the fire by showing up at Garibay's ravaged home the next day. He also sent an email to a police detective describing “pour patterns” at the scene and encouraged investigators to speak with Garibay.

“[Adams] has never involved himself in an investigation in this manner,” authorities noted in the affidavit.

The prosecutor also contacted the Sutter County Victim/Witness Assistance Program in an effort to get financial assistance for Garibay, according to the affidavit. Garibay, meanwhile, insisted to the newspaper that her relationship with Adams ended after they were “together” one time and that the prosecutor never paid her.

“The only thing he ever bought me was one Frappuccino,” she told the newspaper. “I feel horrible that he’s out there like that.”

In 2010, Garibay was charged as an accessory in the death of her then-boyfriend, Dr. Hyo Deoung Shin, after another man she was having an affair with, Jeffrey Wayne Clay, caught the couple in bed. Garibary ultimately received immunity from Adams’ office in exchange for her testimony and cooperation with authorities.

Garibay told the Appeal-Democrat she had “no relationship whatsoever” with Adams in 2010 and only became involved with him in January or February.

Adams, for his part, has denied any role in the arson.

“The police department named me as a suspect in the investigation,” Adams said in a statement obtained by “I will let the police department complete their investigation and let them make the statement for me.”

Shawna Pavey, a police spokeswoman, told in an email that one of the three men originally named in the affidavit — Amerjit Bhatti, who has a 14-month-old daughter with Garibay — has been cleared as a suspect in the arson investigation. Adams and a third man, identified as Ronnie Johnson, have not, Pavey said.

The case has been forwarded onto the state Attorney General's Office. Lynda Gledhill, a spokeswoman for the attorney general, told that no charges had been filed in the case as of Tuesday.

Click for more from