Governor David Paterson's former right hand man, David Johnson, appeared yesterday before the Commission on Public Integrity to answer questions about allegations that Paterson illegally solicited free Yankees World Series tickets, then lied about it. The commission alleges that Paterson only paid for the tickets after the media started asking questions, and when he did so, the check was deceptively backdated. It also appears that Johnson amateurishly forged his boss's signature on a back-dated check to cover the tickets, worth $425 each.

Last month Johnson's lawyer said his client was walking into a "perjury trap" by testifying before the commission. It's not known whether Johnson corroborated Paterson's version of how the tickets were obtained; after yesterdays meeting, his lawyer told reporters, "We're not going to make any comment with respect to anything that went on, other than to say that the investigation is obviously continuing." A spokesman for the commission told the Post, "There's nothing in the law that prohibits him from speaking about what he may have said to the commission."

Johnson was all smiles while strolling out of the meeting yesterday. According to the Daily News, "He ignored shouted questions from reporters but stiffened when asked if he had ever assaulted a woman. He quickly resumed walking without answering." Johnson was suspended two months ago after the Times published a series of reports about the governor's alleged attempt to pressure a woman to drop her attempts to get an order of protection against Johnson. Former Chief Judge of New York Judith S. Kaye is now leading that investigation, but Johnson has not yet been called to testify on that matter.