The Paterson administration is in all-out damage-control mode to mitigate the fallout from the Times' actually bombshell-y bombshell story. An aide to Paterson tells the Daily News today that, though the Times reported that Paterson placed a call to a woman seeking an order of protection against Paterson's close confidant David Johnson, who allegedly beat her on Halloween, what actually happened is the woman called Paterson.
The aide said it was the woman who called the governor on Feb. 7 to assure him that rumors circulating about Paterson were not being spread by her.
"The only time David Paterson spoke to this woman between Oct. 31 [when the incident is said to have taken place] and Feb. 8 is when she called him on Feb. 7," the aide said.
He said the woman was able to reach the governor directly after getting his number from someone who had it.
If that turns out to be true, it would certainly diminish Paterson's personal involvement in the scandal. (There's still the incident of a state policeman from Paterson's security detail coming to her home, but it's unclear at this point who sent him, and what was discussed.) Perhaps Paterson himself could shed some light on who placed a call to whom, except that he's suddenly not very talkative. As a guest on John Gambling's WOR radio show this morning, Paterson went with the old, "I don't want to comment about an ongoing investigation" bit. When Gambling asked Paterson when he knew about the alleged assault on the woman by Johnson, Paterson performed evasive maneuvers.
... I don’t want to talk about that because it just, you know, those are things that I’m sure the attorney general will ask myself about, and I’m sure will ask anyone else, and, um, and so I don’t want to step in front of it."
Paterson did, however, explain why he has suspended Johnson without pay, even though he's waiting to "let the facts come out."
There are allegations that have to be looked into right now, and in the interim anyone who is potentially involved to that level you wouldn’t want them trying to do their job at the same time."
Paterson suspends top aide Johnson, asks AG to probe state police role after alleged attack on woman [NYDN]
Paterson Clams Up [Daily Politics/NYDN]