This David Paterson mess is only getting messier. The New York Times offers the first evidence tonight that the governor was directly involved in influencing the actions of the woman who had accused top Paterson aide David Johnson of assaulting her.
Paterson “personally directed” two state officials to contact the woman, according to two people “in direct knowledge of the governor’s actions,” the Times says. The governor told his press secretary, Marissa Shorenstein, to instruct the woman to publicly describe the incident as nonviolent, even though she had told the police and court otherwise. Shorenstein called the woman on the evening the Times was readying its initial story about Johnson’s influence on Paterson, but she was not able to get through to her, the Times says.
Additionally, the governor reached out to another state employee, Deneae Brown, who works in the Division of Housing and Community Renewal and was a mutual friend of Paterson and the accuser, asking Brown to contact the woman before her court date to finalize an order of protection against Johnson. After Brown called the woman a number of times and arranged a phone call between Paterson and the accuser, the woman did not show up to her court hearing on February 8, at which point the case was dropped.
Paterson announced on Friday that he would not be running for reelection after the Times broke the story earlier in the week. He said earlier today that he was planning to see out the rest of his term.
Paterson Said to Direct Aides to Influence Abuse Case [City Room/NYT]