The State Senate has agreed to settle a lawsuit brought by their former official photographer, who says Governor Paterson fired him because of his race, back when Paterson was Senate Minority Leader in 2003. In his civil rights lawsuit, Joseph Maioriello of Schenectady said John McPadden, then Paterson's chief of staff, explained he was being fired because some senators wanted to replace him with "a minority photographer, a black photographer." Maioriello, who had been a Senate employee for 26 years before he was fired, said McPadden also told him, "You got to remember who Sen. Paterson is. Sen. Paterson is black." In a sworn deposition, Paterson denied the allegations, claiming he didn't see well enough to have fired Maioriello because of his race. Paterson would have been required to testify had the case finally gone to trial, and one source "close to the lawsuit" tells the Post that the size of the settlement—$300,000—suggests "that the state wouldn't have made out very well if it had gone to trial. If nothing wrong happened, why is the state paying out this kind of money?" Shhh... It's late Friday afternoon—by Monday it'll be like this never happened.