The New York Times is reporting that Gov. David Paterson played a bigger role than previously known reaching out to a woman who was the victim of an alleged assault by one of the governor’s top aides.
The woman, Sherr-una Booker, did not appear for a Feb. 8 court hearing to get a protective order against Paterson aide David Johnson, whom she accused of assaulting her last October.
We already knew that the state police had contacted Booker for unclear reasons, and that Paterson himself had a brief phone conversation with her the day before the scheduled hearing.
In the latest story, the Times reports, citing anonymous sources, that Paterson had state employee Deneane Brown reach out to Booker, and that he told his press secretary to ask Booker “to publicly describe the episode as nonviolent.”
The press secretary did not successfully reach Booker, according to the Times.
Lawyers told Politico that the new story, if true, could raise the possibility of witness tampering or obstruction of justice. Ben Smith notes:
New York State law outlaws witness tampering, defined as occurring when someone “wrongfully induces or attempts to induce [a person who is about to be called as a witness] to absent himself from” a court proceeding.