Governor David Paterson Responds To New York Times' 'Splash' Of 'Youthful Offenses'

New York Gov. David Paterson sent out a statement at 1 a.m. this morning, responding to the New York Times‘ story about his closest aide, David Johnson. 

The story examined the alleged “scrutiny” Paterson is facing from peers about his 37 year old’s aide past. As a teenager, he was arrested for selling cocaine. Recently, police have shown up at his house after he was accused of being violent toward women. No charges were filed in the latter case.

Paterson has also been in some car accidents with Johnson.

Paterson wrote in his statement that he took Johnson in from the streets as an intern. The young man “worked his way up from a driver to a constituent service provider, to become a key intergovernmental relations advisor and a trusted friend,” he wrote.

From the statement, posted by the Observer:

“The New York Times has chosen to splash his youthful offenses across the pages of its newspaper – even though the courts of our State have ordered them to be sealed. Mistakes committed during one’s youth are determined by law to be kept sealed for a reason – to give a young person a second chance at a productive life. I profoundly believe in this principle of redemption and giving young people a second chance.

“The more recent allegations reported on by the Times would be extremely troubling if true – but the conclusions reached by the Times report are not supported by the facts. There is no independent evidence presented that would substantiate any claims of violence committed by David Johnson against a woman, a fact underscored by the absence of a single judicial finding that any such incident ever took place. I would caution others from making a similar rush to judgment.”

He was likely ready to respond to any New York Times piece mentioning him or his staff, after rumours swirled about a damaging story on the way. As the Timespublic editor Clark Hoyt wrote this weekend, that was “someone else’s rumour.” “I think the paper is right to maintain its silence until ready to speak with an article on its own pages,” Hoyt wrote.

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