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Rochester Mayor Lovely Warren's husband arrested on drug and weapons charges, officials say

The mayor said she's been separated from her spouse for "many years" and questioned if she's being targeted politically.

New York state police raided the home of Rochester Mayor Lovely Warren on Wednesday, and her husband was later arrested on drugs and weapons charges, officials said.

The mayor said she's not a target of the probe against husband Timothy Granison, but questioned whether the timing of his arrest is tied to her current bid for a third term at City Hall.

"I find the timing of yesterday's events, three weeks before early voting starts, to be highly suspicious," she said during a five-minute address on Thursday defending herself. "There's nothing implicating me in these charges announced today, because I've done nothing wrong."

The mayor said her efforts to reform the police department and support reparations and universal income have made her a target of powerful enemies.

Warren also disclosed, for the first time publicly, that she and Granison separated "many years ago."

City spokesperson Justin Roj said in a statement to NBC News on Thursday afternoon that Warren and her husband have been quietly "separated since 2018" but that they "co-parent their child in a shared home."

"I haven't spoken to Tim since his arrest and I'm not standing here to defend him," Warren said.

Granison, 42, appeared Thursday via video in Rochester City Court from the Monroe County jail, where he spent the night.

He pleaded not guilty to charges of illegal possession of a firearm, criminal possession of a controlled substance and possession with intent to sell. He was released without bail and his next court date was set for June 21,.

Mayor Warren even cast doubt on the court schedule, because June 21 is one day before polls open.

"If this is not about politics, why is Tim's next court date June 21, the day before primary day? Now that's quite the coincidence," she said. "Now when you figure out those answers to those questions, come find me because I'll be working."

Warren then left the podium and didn't answer any questions.

Hours before Warren's statement, Monroe County District Attorney Sandra Doorley insisted this prosecution is not political.

"There are going to be people out there who think that this is politically motivated. It was not," she told reporters. "Timothy Granison was not the original target of this wire investigation."

Wednesday's raid was part of a seven-month-long local drug probe and the mayor's husband didn't get on police radar until just three months ago, according to Doorley.

At that point, she said, Rochester authorities looped in state police.

"Once we learned that he was becoming a potential target, I determined, along with my staff, that in order to preserve the integrity of the investigation, that we bring in the New York State Police," Doorley said.

Seven people were arrested and two kilos of crack and powder cocaine seized, officials said.

"That's significant, especially for this community, " said Doorley, who declined to disclose where the drugs were seized from during raids of seven different homes on Wednesday.

The probe also involved wire taps and authorities declined to say if the mayor was captured in the confidential recordings.

Police said they want to interview Warren, but haven't immediately heard back from her.

Asked point-blank if Mayor Warren is not a target of the on-going probe, Doorley said: "I'm not saying that, I'm not commenting at this point."

Police also seized four weapons, a semi-automatic rifle and three handguns, and $100,000 cash in the raids on Wednesday. The rifle and one of the handguns were taken from Warren's home, police said.

"The handgun was unregistered, yes. The rifle has issues separate from that," state police Maj. Barry Chase said.

Warren was not home when police searched her home.

Granison's attorney John DeMarco said he knows little about the evidence police have against his client.

“As of right now, we have very little information, not any more information than I alluded to in court,” DeMarco told reporters outside court.

“There’s these two charges that allege possession of contraband that appears to be cocaine and an allegation that there was a firearm inside the home that was not registered to anybody that they believed to be residing in the home.”

Warren, a two-term mayor of Rochester, was indicted last year on charges that she allegedly broke campaign finance rules and committed fraud during her 2017 reelection campaign.

Rochester is New York state's third-largest city, with more than 200,000 residents along the southern shore of Lake Ontario.

The Associated Press and Helen Kwong contributed.