As if he wasn’t already looking shady enough, BOSSIP has learned Gov. Paterson is now suspected in intervening on behalf of one of his top aides, David W. Johnson who allegedly assaulted his girlfriend on Halloween in the apartment the two shared for four years. Over the course of several months the woman was visited and received phone calls from the State Police, a member of the governor’s personal security detail and even received a call from the governor himself. Pop the hood for more details.
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.
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.
On Wednesday night, in response to inquiries from The New York Times, Mr. Paterson said in a statement that he would request that Attorney General Andrew M. Cuomo investigate his administration’s handling of the matter. The governor also said he would suspend Mr. Johnson without pay.
Through a spokesman, Mr. Paterson said the call actually took place the day before the scheduled court hearing and maintained that the woman had initiated it. He declined to answer further questions about his role in the matter.
The woman’s lawyer, Lawrence B. Saftler, said that the conversation lasted about a minute and that the governor asked how she was doing and if there was anything he could do for her. “If you need me,” he said, according to Mr. Saftler, “I’m here for you.”
Mr. Saftler said the governor never mentioned the court case, but he would not say if the call had influenced her decision not to return to court.
The alleged assault happened shortly before 8 p.m. on Halloween in the apartment she had shared with Mr. Johnson and her 13-year-old son for about four years, according to police records.
She told the police that Mr. Johnson, who is 6-foot-7, 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.
The woman was twice granted a temporary order of protection against Mr. Johnson, according to the proceedings in Family Court in the Bronx.
“I’m scared he’s going to come back,” she said, according to the proceedings, in which a court referee at the initial hearing noted bruises on the woman’s arm.
“I’m glad you’re doing this,” the woman told the referee, “because I thought it was going to be swept under the table because he’s like a government official, and I have problems even calling the police because the state troopers kept calling me and harassing me to drop the charges, and I wouldn’t.”
Two days later, the woman was back in Family Court, and the order of protection was kept in place. And she again asserted that she had been pressured by the State Police.
“The State Police contacted me because they didn’t want me to get an order of protection or press charges or anything,” she told the court.
The State Police superintendent, Harry J. Corbitt, said he was told of the episode within 24 hours after it occurred. He confirmed that a state police officer had met with the woman, even though the episode occurred in the jurisdiction of the New York Police Department. He said the visit was made only to tell the woman of her options, including seeking counseling.
“We never pressured her, at least what I was advised; we never pressured her not to press charges,” said Mr. Corbitt, whom the governor appointed. “We just gave her options.”
He said that such an inquiry was customary for the department if an episode involved a high-profile person, and that it was done in the 24 hours afterward.
“It’s typical if it involves anything that might involve a media event; it doesn’t have to be a senior official to the governor,” Mr. Corbitt said. “It could be a politician or a high-profile physician, anything that might pique interest in the press, because it’s a special circumstance.”
In his statement on Wednesday, Mr. Paterson said: “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.”
Mr. Johnson has had three known altercations with women, according to interviews with the women and the governor. Two of them involved the police, and one required the intervention of Mr. Paterson’s chief of staff at the time.
The woman involved in the case attempted to have Johnson served with the order of protection multiple times over the course of weeks, when she appeared in court November 4th, just days following the incident, she had been unsuccessful at having the documents delivered. At a hearing on December 17th, which Johnson did not attend, his lawyer refused to accept service of the order on behalf of his client. The woman wanted to proceed with the case anyway, however when the February 8th court date arrived neither she nor Johnson was present. Johnson’s lawyer was at the court case and since the woman was not present and had still been unable to successfully serve Johnson with the protective order, the case was dismissed. Orders of protection are not considered in effect until they have been served on the person accused of the offense.
SMH, this ish sounds dirtier than the Hudson River…