A few weeks ago, whispers started that The New York Times was about to publish an expose on New York Governor David Patterson. Given all the political sex scandals in recent years, people’s minds went to the gutter. Rumors swirled that he’d been “snuggling” with another woman in a utility closet. But the scandal the Times was charting has nothing to do with sex—instead, it has to do with Patterson trying to cover for his longtime top aide, David Johnson, who’s been accused of beating up his girlfriend on Halloween night. Sherr-una Booker claims that Johnson choked her, ripped off her clothing, and smashed her into a mirror. When she tried to call for help, she says he took the phone from her. She kicked Johnson out of the apartment, where he’d lived for four years, and sought an order to keep him away from her.
Here’s where things get sketchy. Apparently, as Sherr-una pressed her case forward, police officers harassed her to drop the charges. The night before she was scheduled to appear in court for her final protective order, she got a personal call from Governor Patterson himself. He says she initiated the call, and that it wasn’t intended to change her mind. But she failed to appear in court the next day and the case was dropped.
On Friday, Patterson announced that he would no longer be seeking re-election, though he plans to finish out the last year of his term. But today with the news that Patterson personally asked two aides to talk Booker out of pressing charges, people are calling for him to step down immediately.
Should Patterson be out of there? Maybe it’s not as titillating, but to me this is a much bigger deal than if he were diddling a staffer.