The New York state police intervened with a woman who had accused a top aide to Gov. David Paterson of assaulting her, in what she says was an attempt to harass her to drop the charges, the New York Times reports.
And Paterson himself had a brief phone conversation with the woman earlier this month, though the details of the call are in dispute. Paterson told the Times the woman “initiated” the call, whereas her lawyer says Paterson called her. The lawyer, Lawrence Saftler, says the governor told her, “If you need me, I’m here for you.”
The aide who allegedly assaulted the woman is 37-year-old David Johnson, who the Times had been investigating for a front-page profile that ran earlier this month. He has in “three occasions been involved in altercations with women,” according to the paper.
The day after the call with the governor, Feb. 8, the woman did not appear for a scheduled hearing to seek a protective order, thus ending the case.
Here’s the description of the alleged assault that occurred on Halloween:
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.
And here is part of what the woman, who the Times did not name, said in court about the role of the state police:
“I’m glad you’re doing this,” the woman told the referee [in court], “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.”
State Police Superintendent Harry Corbitt confirmed to the Times that a member of the detail assigned to the governor approached the woman at least once, in the day after the alleged incident, which was in the jurisdiction of the city police.
He claimed that is standard procedure in any case “that might involve a media event.”