Governor Paterson's controversial right-hand man, David Johnson, appears to have amateurishly forged his boss's signature on a back-dated check for World Series Yankees tickets last year. Yesterday the Commission on Public Integrity accused Paterson of violating the "public officers law" when he personally solicited tickets to the game, and then lying about it under oath. State law prohibits officials in the executive branch from soliciting or accepting gifts of more than nominal value from any lobbyist if it could be intended to sway the official. (The Yankees were registered to lobby Paterson at the time.) Now prosecutors have been asked to determine if criminal charges should be brought against the governor.

"It’s one thing to run afoul of the gift ban, a civil matter at best," Daniel J. French, a former federal prosecutor who served on the commission, tells the Times. "It’s quite another to have lied under oath, which, if proven, is a criminal matter with far-reaching implications to office and liberty." And Blair Horner at the New York Public Interest Research Group, which brought the original complaint to the commission, tells the Times, "I know of no other time where it’s been alleged by what is basically a police agency that the governor lied under oath."

Paterson, who previously tried to abolish the commission, testified that he had always intended to pay for the tickets, and swore that he wrote out a check on the morning of the game, bringing it with him but later giving it to Johnson to mail when "no opportunity arose at the stadium to deliver the check to the team." But the commission found that he only decided to pay for the tickets after a Post reporter started asking questions, and they caught Paterson in another lie because the check was dated for the day before the game. Also, it's obviously the DJ's handwriting.

Paterson's communications directors Peter Kauffmann was also called to testify, and he revealed that after the Post's inquiry, Paterson tried to insist that he was invited the game in an official capacity, and therefore didn't have to pay. But in fact, the DJ had been tasked with arranging the tickets, which was always such a hassle when dealing with the Yankees, as Johnson himself explained in an e-mail to the governor's scheduler: "Yankees the only sports franchise that gives us problems."

When asked yesterday if he had lied to the commission, Paterson simply said, "No." He denied soliciting the tickets, but declined to elaborate on this scandal or the other one involving DJ's domestic violence cover-up, telling reporters, "I would really love to tell my story. The hope for me is that the attorney general's investigation is a place where witnesses have to take an oath and hopefully where the truth comes out." When asked if he had plans to resign, he added, "I think it's better for the state for me to stay here right now."

"The question is, is there a last straw out there somewhere?," Assemblyman Jack McEneny, D-Albany, asked the Times Union yesterday. "With increasing personal distractions, is he able to perform the duties of governor? I think it remains to be seen." And it turns out State Democratic Party Chairman Jay Jacobs went to Albany Tuesday with the intention of asking Paterson to resign, but he changed his tactic after Paterson called him during the drive up to tell him he wouldn't quit. Paterson has no public appearances scheduled today, and frankly we're getting a little antsy—it's almost noon and there hasn't been a fresh allegation against Paterson all morning!