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Sources: Paterson Won't Face Criminal Charges

Regional AuthorityGovernmentExecutive BranchLaws and Legislation

New York Gov. David Paterson will not facecriminal charges for calling a woman who later dropped domesticviolence charges against a top aide to the governor, according to aperson with direct knowledge of the investigation.

Retired Judge Judith Kaye, tasked by state Attorney GeneralAndrew Cuomo with examining Paterson's role in the assault case,will release a report Wednesday outlining tampering allegationsagainst the Democratic governor, said the person, who spoke oncondition of anonymity because the report was not yet public.

After the confrontation between David Johnson and histhen-girlfriend Sherr-una Booker on Oct. 31, Paterson called Bookerand later endorsed a press statement that said the incident was notviolent.

Booker filed a police report saying Johnson choked her, threwher against a mirror and tried to rip her Halloween costume off.After the Paterson call, she did not show up for court, and thecomplaint was dropped.

But the damage was done to Paterson. Buffeted by other ethicsquestions about World Series tickets, Paterson soon dropped plansto run for a full term this fall, while saying he intended tofinish the year in office. His attorney, Theodore Wells Jr., hasdenied any wrongdoing by the governor.

Officials disclosed that Paterson, members of his State Policesecurity detail, and other administration employees spoke to Bookershortly before she was supposed to appear in court for a hearing inthe domestic violence case Feb. 8.

The governor confirmed that he spoke to Booker on the telephonethe day before the hearing but denied trying to talk her out ofpressing charges. He said he just wanted to see how she was doing.

The New York Times later quoted unidentified sources as sayingthat the governor had personally directed two state employees tocontact Booker and that he tried to get her to change her story anddescribe the incident as nonviolent.

Calls to Wells and Paterson were not immediately returnedWednesday.

Oscar Michelen, Johnson's lawyer, has said his client was neverarrested or charged, remained suspended without pay and looksforward to Kaye's report so he can move on.

He has said New York City police arrived at Booker's Bronx homeHalloween night and "made a determination there was no evidence acrime had been committed."

Cuomo appointed Kaye to Paterson's case after critics pointedout a potential conflict of interest because he is also running forgovernor. Cuomo acknowledged a legitimate argument early in theinvestigation, before Paterson dropped out of the race.

Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun