On the night Governor David Paterson's senior aide David Johnson allegedly assaulted his female companion in her bedroom, the head of Paterson's security detail, Major Charles Day of the State Police, swung into action. Before the NYPD even arrived at the apartment Johnson shared with Sherr-una Booker, Day had already spoken to the woman on the phone. Although the Times has previously exposed alleged State Police interference in Booker's legal action against Johnson, their involvement that night hasn't been reported in such detail, until today.
According to the Times, after Johnson allegedly choked Booker, tore off her Halloween costume, threw her against a mirrored dresser, and seized her cell phone, he left the building around 10 p.m. and starting making phone calls. One was to Clemmie L. Harris Jr., a confidant and a senior adviser of Paterson; another was placed to Day, who promptly called Booker and dispatched Paterson's longtime friend Deneane Brown, a state worker. Brown also arrived at the Bronx apartment before the NYPD. Next time we're in trouble, maybe we should call the State Police, too!
Sources tell the Times that Day characterized his call to Booker as "innocent, that he was merely checking to see if she was all right or needed assistance. He had first called his superior, Deputy Superintendent Pedro J. Perez, for authorization to call her." (Perez has since resigned.) Other sources say Booker "clearly felt that she was being discouraged from pursuing charges or a case against Johnson." After more pressure from Brown and a phone call from Paterson himself, she finally dropped her attempt to get an order of protection against Johnson on February 8th.
But in the days immediately following the incident, Day was "deeply concerned that Mr. Johnson would be arrested, perhaps even in the presence of the governor," sources tell the Times. The NYPD finally assured him that Johnson would not be arrested. Day testified under oath last week, and his lawyer says he's being unfairly maligned: "He’s had a stellar career; he’s got a sterling background, and quite frankly we shouldn’t be here to answer to these charges." As for Paterson, investigators are trying to determine when he knew about the alleged assault and who told him. On the night of the incident, he was on his way to a Halloween party in Harlem, arriving around midnight.
Appearing on "The John Gambling Show" yesterday morning, the embattled governor made the strange assertion that he tipped off the media that he had called Booker the day before she dropped her legal action. "I don't want to go into it, but the person who informed others that there was such a conversation was me," Paterson said. "It's not my surmise. It's an actual fact. But the individual who first made it clear that there had been a conversation was myself." When told of Paterson's assertion, one unidentified Assembly Democrat told the Daily News, "Paterson is known to make things up and lie, so why would we think this is any different. It makes him look really, really foolish."