David Paterson’s top aide, David Johnson, has been suspended, and the governor’s administration will be investigated, after inquiries from the New York Times regarding a woman who testified last fall that she had been violently assaulted by Johnson and looked for a protective order against him.
The Times , who examined Paterson’s ties to Johnson in a story last week, reports that the woman appeared in court twice after the alleged Halloween assault, claiming that “the State Police had been harassing her to drop it.” The State Police confirmed that the woman — whom the Times does not name at her request — was visited by a member of the governor’s personal security detail. Earlier this month, the woman got a call from Paterson himself, according to the woman’s lawyer, Lawrence B. Saftler. She did not show up for her next hearing on February 8 and the case was dismissed.
“Many details of the governor’s role in this episode are unclear or in dispute, 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 Times reports.
The alleged assault, which took place in the apartment the woman shared with Johnson and her 13-year-old son, sounds gruesome:
“She told the police that Mr. Johnson had choked her, stripped her of much of her clothing, smashed her against a mirrored dresser and taken two telephones from her to prevent her from calling for help, according to police records.”
A senior administration official told the Times that Paterson will be requesting that Attorney General Andrew Cuomo “investigate his administration’s handling of the matter.” The official would not answer any questions about the governor’s involvement, other than saying Johnson has been suspended without pay.