David Paterson witness tampering and perjury scandals

David Paterson witness tampering and perjury scandals

New York Governor David Paterson in 2010 was accused of witness tampering to protect an aide accused of abusing his girlfriend and lying under oath about whether he intended to pay for 2009 World Series tickets at Yankee Stadium. In the wake of the scandals there were calls for him to resign as governor. Paterson suspended his campaign for re-election. Five staff members have resigned. However no criminal charges have been brought against him although his aide has been charged in the abuse case.

The witness tampering claim came to light in February 2010 involving staffer David W. Johnson after New York State Police and his staffers talked to the woman to get her to drop the case. Paterson was accused of talking to the woman personally a day before the case was dropped.[1] Paterson dropped his re-election bid on February 26 but has maintained his innocence and rejected calls for his resignation.

On March 3, 2010, charges were made he had lied under oath with regard to charges that he through Johnson had solicited free tickets from the Yankees for the World Series.

Timeline

  • October 28, 2009 – Paterson and Johnson attend the opening game of the 2009 World Series at Yankee Stadium. Included in the party is Paterson's 15-year-old son, a friend of his son and another member of his staff, allegedly using free tickets provided by the Yankees. Paterson would be formally accused of improperly accepting the tickets by the New York State Commission on Public Integrity on March 3, 2010.[2]
  • October 31, 2009 – Johnson (born in 1972) who is six feet seven, upon finding his live-in girlfriend Sherr-una Booker and a female friend dressed in Halloween costumes he did not like is accused of choking Booker and throwing her against dresser and ripping off the costume. When she tried to call the police he took her phone and left. New York City Police who have jurisdiction in the case in the Bronx arrive at 9:50 p.m. Police reported there were no visible signs of injury but she later reported she had been bruised.[3][4][5]
  • November 1, 2009 – Johnson attempts to contact State Police superintendent Harry J. Corbitt to discuss the case. Failing that he contacts Charles Day, head of the governor's security unit, who gets permission from First Deputy Superintendent Pedro J. Perez to talk to Booker even though the state does not have jurisdiction in the case.[6]
  • November 2, 2009 – Booker gets an order of protection against Johnson and complains that the state police are harassing her. Police say they are just offering her counseling options. No charges are filed against Johnson.
  • November 4, 2009 – Booker in court says that Johnson is avoiding being served on the order.
  • December 17, 2009 – In court Johnson's lawyer refuses to accept the order on his client's behalf.[7]
  • Late January–Early February 2010 – Paterson asks press secretary Marissa Shorenstein and staffer Deneane Brown, who actually knew Booker, and arranged for Booker to call the governor.[8]
  • February 7 – Booker at Brown's request calls the governor. Paterson says he did not bring up the assault allegation in the conversation. He said he just offered her his help and said he wanted to check that the woman was all right.[6]
  • February 8 – Booker does not attend a hearing on the order and the case is dropped.
  • February 9 – In another high-profile abuse case, the New York State Senate expels Hiram Monserrate, who was convicted of assaulting his girlfriend with a broken drinking glass.[9]
  • February 9 – Rumors circulate that the New York Times has a story that will force the governor to resign or drop out of the governor's race. Rumors speculated it would be about womanizing or drug use.[10]
  • February 16 – The New York Times runs a profile on Johnson and his rise to power from being Paterson's intern and chauffeur to being his closest adviser. The Times reports on the abuse case.
  • February 17 – Paterson denounces the New York Times for reporting on Johnson and stands by his aide, saying as to Johnson's conduct, "I profoundly believe in this principle of redemption and giving young people a second chance." [11]
  • February 20 – Paterson formally begins his bid for election in a speech at his former law school Hofstra.
  • February 24 - The New York Times reports on the state police connection and Paterson's involvement. Paterson suspends Johnson and asks State Attorney General Andrew Cuomo to investigate.
  • February 25 - Denise E. O’Donnell, deputy secretary for public safety which supervises the state police, resigns in protest saying that State Police superintendent, Harry J. Corbitt, had assured her that the state police were not involved in the case.[12] Corbitt was quoted in the media saying state police visits were customary in episodes that might attract media attention—a comment that the Times "dismissed as false by many inside and outside the State Police." Corbitt denied that he misled O'Donnell.[4]
  • February 26 - Paterson withdraws in a speech in New York City during the Third North American blizzard of 2010. Paterson says "It hasn't been the latest distraction; it has been an accumulation of obstacles that has obfuscated me from bringing my message to the public...I give you this personal oath: I have never abused my office - not now, not ever - and I believe that when the facts are revealed the truth will prevail."[13]
  • March 2 – Gillibrand calls for Paterson to resign saying, "At the end of the day, if the allegations of abuse of power are true, then the governor will be unable to govern and he will have to step down,’’ [14]
  • March 3 - Corbitt announces he is taking an early retirement Corbitt had earlier retired but came back at the request of Paterson. Corbitt said, “I'm not an elected official; I'm a public servant, I'm a cop. And a good cop. So to continue to face that pressure, and even pressure from my family, the media showing up in my driveway — that's unacceptable. So for my own health and for my own sanity it's the right thing to do.”[15]
  • March 3 - Long-term ally Charles B. Rangel resigns his chairmanship at least temporarily from the House Ways and Means Committee as he faces his own ethics issue. The local NBC station notes that Rangel's and Paterson's problems further indicate decline in power and influence for "Harlem's Gang of Four" (Rangel, Basil Paterson (the governor's father), David Dinkins, and Percy Sutton (who died in December 2009)).[16]
  • March 3 - The New York Commission on Public Integrity acting a complaint from the New York Public Interest Research Group issues a report saying Paterson lied under oath with regards to the five World Series tickets behind home plate that had a face value of $425 each. The Commission said that Paterson testified he intended to pay for them and that he backdated a check for them. The report said that Johnson had asked for the tickets because Paterson was to play a ceremonial role in the game but he did not participate in any formal way and was not introduced.[17][18]
  • March 4 - Communications director Peter Kauffmann, top spokesman for Gov. Paterson resigns saying, "Unfortunately as recent developments have come to light, I cannot in good conscience continue in my position." Kauffmann's email and testimony were taken in the World Series scandal.[19]
  • March 9 - Perez announces his early retirement, saying in his letter, "My retirement is not premised on the current investigation by the attorney general, as I know my decisions were honest and rightly motivated,”[20]
  • March 11 - One day after Paterson said he was recusing himself from decisions on the Aqueduct Racetrack "on the advice of his lawyers," his office announced that the office was no longer supporting Aqueduct Entertainment Group's bid and that the Division of Lottery will handle a new bidding process that is "transparent" and "apolitical."[21]
  • March 12 – Andrew Cuomo recuses himself from investigating the case saying, "I wish to avoid any possible appearance of any political interest or conflict whatsoever." Judith Kaye, who had sworn Paterson in as governor, was named independent counsel with powers to bring criminal charges in the cases.[22]
  • March 16 – Paterson’s new attorney Ted Wells released an email exchange between the Yankees on October 7–8 showing that the Yankees had invited Paterson to the playoffs. Paterson declined the tickets but said he would be interested in World Series tickets.[23]
  • March 17 – Shorenstein resigned, saying, “Due to the circumstances that have led to my unwitting involvement in recent news stories, I can no longer do my job effectively.”[24]
  • March 18 – WNYC releases a story detailing how New York governors have used the state police to meddle inappropriately dating back to George Pataki when he in meddled in the parole board.[25]
  • March 18 - Paterson told John Gambling of WOR (AM) that he was the person who leaked the information about the February 7 conversation with Booker saying "the individual who first made it clear that there had been a conversation was myself." The New York Times responded by saying the Administration (via Kauffman) only responded after the Times specifically asked about the conversation.[26]
  • March 24 - The New York Times reported that Paterson on February 16, 2010, instructed an assistant in office to send an email to Booker asking her to issue a statements to the press saying that Booker’s and Johnson’s breakup months earlier “had been unfriendly but not violent, and that any charges related to the altercation had been dropped.” Booker declined. The Times said Paterson and Booker spoke several times as the Times was preparing its February 24 article. The Times article also said that State Police Maj. Day spoke to Booker between the October 31 altercation and the arrival of the New York City police. Paterson’s attorney Wells was quoted in the story as saying “he will not comment on a piecemeal basis to incomplete and often factually inaccurate press reports.”[27]
  • July 28 - Judith Kaye in a 54-page report says Paterson showed "remarkable lack of judgment - but violated no criminal laws" and recommended against any prosecution although the final decision could be made by the Bronx District Attorney.[28][29]
  • August 12 - Johnson is formally charged with third-degree assault, three counts of criminal mischief, menacing and harassment. [30][31]
  • August 17 – Kauffmann testifies before State Commission on Public Integrity that after being contacted by a New York Post report he advised the governor the “smartest thing to do was to pay for all the tickets” but the governor refused initially. Executives for the Yankees testified that they had not given the tickets to Paterson as a gift. The Commission could fine the governor $93,000 for the infraction. Paterson or any representative for him do not attend the hearing.[32]
  • August 26 - Kaye in a report on the World Series tickets issues says that Paterson may have lied under oath to members of the state Commission on Public Integrity investigating the matter. The report leaves it up to Albany District Attorney David Soares to decide whether charges would be filed.[33]
  • August 31 - Paterson says he plans no formal action against Clemmie Harris (an aide who had the earlier contact with Booker) or Johnson. Harris remains on the staff and Johnson has not been paid since February.[34]
  • December 20 - The Commission on Public Integrity says Paterson lied about the tickets and fines him $62,125.[35]
  • March 2, 2011, Johnson pleads guilty to misdemeanor second-degree harassment. If he stays out of trouble for a year it will be removed from his record.[36]

References

  1. ^ William K. Rashbaum; Danny Hakim; David Kocieniewski; Serge F. Kovaleski; Kitty Bennett; Alain Delaquérière; Barbara Gray (February 25, 2010). "Question of Influencein Abuse Case of Paterson Aide". The New York Times. http://www.nytimes.com/2010/02/25/nyregion/25paterson.html. Retrieved March 7, 2010. 
  2. ^ Paterson Faulted For Ethics Slip - Wall Street Journal - March 4, 2010
  3. ^ Paterson aide David Johnson tore outfit off girlfriend Sherr-una Booker on Halloween: police sources - New York Daily News - February 25, 2010
  4. ^ a b Aide Asked State Police to Contact His Accuser - New York Times - February 26, 2010
  5. ^ Paterson to Drop Out of Governor Race - New York Times - February 26, 2010
  6. ^ a b Nicholas Confessore; William K. Rashbaum Contributed Reporting From New York. (February 27, 2010). "Aide Asked State Police to Contact His Accuser". The New York Times. http://www.nytimes.com/2010/02/27/nyregion/27day.html. Retrieved March 7, 2010. 
  7. ^ Heat on as Dave lays low - amny - March 4, 2010
  8. ^ David Kocieniewski; Danny Hakim (March 3, 2010). "Investigators Are Told of Paterson Bid to Quiet Accuser". The New York Times. http://www.nytimes.com/2010/03/03/nyregion/03paterson.html. Retrieved March 7, 2010. 
  9. ^ Jeremy W. Peters (February 20, 2010). "Judge Declines to Reverse Monserrate’s Expulsion From the State Senate". The New York Times. http://www.nytimes.com/2010/02/20/nyregion/20hiram.html. Retrieved March 7, 2010. 
  10. ^ Paterson Denies Scandal, Resignation Rumors - WPIX.com - February 9, 2010
  11. ^ "Paterson: Times Report on Aides Lacks 'Facts'". CNN. 2010-02-17. http://politicalticker.blogs.cnn.com/2010/02/17/paterson-times-report-on-aide-lacks-facts/?fbid=BE08HsGGyc2. 
  12. ^ Top Paterson Official Resigns - New York Times - February 25, 2010
  13. ^ Paterson drops bid for a full term - Poughkeepsie Journal - February 27, 2010
  14. ^ Katz, Celeste (2010-03-02). "Gillibrand All But Abandons Paterson". New York: Nydailynews.com. http://www.nydailynews.com/blogs/dailypolitics/2010/03/gillibrand-all-but-abandons-pa.html. Retrieved 2010-03-18. 
  15. ^ - NY state police chief abruptly retires in scandal – Associated Press (via Google) March 3, 2010
  16. ^ The Twilight of the Harlem's Gang of Four nbcnewyork.com - March 4, 2010
  17. ^ Paterson’s Ethics Breach Is Turned Over to Prosecutors - New York Times - March 3, 2010
  18. ^ Gormley, Michael (2009-04-03). "David Paterson faces ethics charges over world series tickets". Yahoo News. http://tierwriting.com/2010/03/nys-paterson-faces-ethics-charge-over-series-tix/. Retrieved 2010-03-03. 
  19. ^ Paterson's Communications Director Resigns - nbcnewyork.com - March 4, 2010
  20. ^ Paterson scandal update: Police chief Pedro Perez quits, 4th victim to succumb to Gov's crisis - New York Daily News - March 9, 2010
  21. ^ Aqueduct bidder's win KO'd - New York Post - March 12, 2010
  22. ^ Andy Gets Off Dave's Case - New York Post - March 12, 2010
  23. ^ Del, John. "Commission: Paterson's Yankees E-Mails Don't Exonerate Him". Gothamist. http://gothamist.com/2010/03/17/yesterday_governor_patersons_lawyer.php. Retrieved 2010-03-18. 
  24. ^ The Daily Politics (March 18, 2010). "ANOTHER Paterson aide deserts administration: Governor's press secretary, Marissa Shorenstein, quits". New York: Nydailynews.com. http://www.nydailynews.com/news/2010/03/17/2010-03-17_another_paterson_aide_deserts_administration_governors_press_secretary_marissa_s.html. Retrieved 2010-03-18. 
  25. ^ "News - Politics and the State Police: A History of 'Troubling Situations'". WNYC. 2010-03-04. http://www.wnyc.org/news/articles/151208. Retrieved 2010-03-18. 
  26. ^ Hakim, Danny (2010-03-16). "Paterson Claims He Was Article’s Source - City Room Blog - NYTimes.com". Cityroom.blogs.nytimes.com. http://cityroom.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/03/18/paterson-says-he-was-articles-source/?pagewanted=print. Retrieved 2010-03-20. 
  27. ^ Hakim, Danny; Rashbaum, William K.; Kocieniewski, David (2010-03-25). "Paterson Seen With Key Role in Abuse Case". The New York Times. http://www.nytimes.com/2010/03/26/nyregion/26paterson.html. Retrieved 2010-05-01. 
  28. ^ Gershman, Jacob (July 29, 2010). "New York Governor Won't Face Charges". The Wall Street Journal. http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748703940904575395993050126432.html?mod=googlenews_wsj. 
  29. ^ Lovett, Kenneth (July 28, 2010). "No charges expected for New York Gov. David Paterson in Sherr-una Booker domestic violence case". Daily News (New York). http://www.nydailynews.com/ny_local/2010/07/28/2010-07-28_no_charges_expected_for_new_york_gov_david_paterson_in_sherruna_booker_domestic_.html#ixzz0v4tPUEia. 
  30. ^ Ex-Paterson aide David Johnson surrenders; arrested on assault charges in Sherr-una Booker case – nydailynews.com – August 12, 2010
  31. ^ Paterson Aide Charged With Assault – nytimes.com – August 12, 2010
  32. ^ Former Aide Says Paterson Rejected Advice on Tickets – nytimes.com – August 17, 2010
  33. ^ By RICK KARLIN Capitol Bureau (2010-08-26). "Did Paterson break the law?". Times Union. http://www.timesunion.com/local/article/Did-Paterson-break-the-law-633126.php. Retrieved 2010-08-31. 
  34. ^ "Paterson plans no action against Harris, Johnson - Capitol Confidential". Blog.timesunion.com. 2010-08-27. http://blog.timesunion.com/capitol/archives/31126/paterson-plans-no-action-against-harris-johnson/. Retrieved 2010-08-31. 
  35. ^ Halbfinger, David M. (2010-12-20). "Governor Paterson Fined Over World Series Tickets - NYTimes.com". Cityroom.blogs.nytimes.com. http://cityroom.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/12/20/gov-paterson-fined-62125-for-taking-world-series-tickets/. Retrieved 2011-03-02. 
  36. ^ Conley, Kirsten (2009-10-31). "Former Paterson aide David Johnson pleads guilty to harassment in girlfriend attack". NYPOST.com. http://www.nypost.com/p/news/local/bronx/former_paterson_aide_pleads_guilty_05j3bBuZee2TMmgWUDthAI?CMP=OTC-rss&FEEDNAME=. Retrieved 2011-03-02. 

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