Times Drops the Paterson Bomb; Paterson Reacts
Here's the story the DC-NY political corridor has been waiting for:
Last fall, a woman went to court in the Bronx to testify that she had been violently assaulted by a top aide to Gov. David A. Paterson, and to seek a protective order against the man.
In the ensuing months, she returned to court twice to press her case, complaining that the State Police had been harassing her to drop it. The State Police, which had no jurisdiction in the matter, confirmed that the woman was visited by a member of the governor's personal security detail.
Then, just before she was due to return to court to seek a final protective order, the woman got a phone call from the governor, according to her lawyer. She failed to appear for her next hearing on Feb. 8, and as a result her case was dismissed.
Many details of the governor's role in this episode are unclear, but the accounts presented in court and police records and interviews with the woman's lawyer and others portray a brutal encounter, a frightened woman and an effort to make a potential political embarrassment go away.
The case involved David W. Johnson, 37, who had risen from working as Mr. Paterson's driver and scheduler to serving in the most senior ranks of the administration, but who also had a history of altercations with women
Late tonight, Paterson asked his potential gubernatorial rival -- and a man that some Paterson folks believe has been quietly spreading these rumors -- Andrew Cuomo, the Attorney General, for a full investigation of the man known as "DJ" -- a very controversial and disliked figure of influence in Paterson's entourage.
"Serious questions have been raised about contact the State Police may have had with a private citizen who filed a complaint against a member of my staff. Any allegation of improper influence must be investigated thoroughly and completely. "Superintendent Harry Corbitt has directed the State Police to conduct an internal investigation into this matter. I have full faith and trust in the integrity and ability of the State Police to conduct a thorough investigation.
"Because of the seriousness of these allegations, and the sensitive role of this staff member in my Administration, I am asking the Attorney General to investigate the matter to ensure in the public's mind that a comprehensive and independent inquiry has been conducted. Pending the outcome of the investigation, I am suspending David Johnson without pay
Paterson managed to escape too much political damage from the Times's first set of stories, but this story belongs in a different orbit.