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Long IslandPoliticsSpin Cycle

David Paterson's lesson: Don't leave voicemail

Judith Kaye's 54-page report on Gov. David A. Paterson's conduct surrounding the domestic violence scandal that has enveloped his former aide, David Johnson, is -- as these things tend to be -- as much about the cover-up of what he did than it is about the actions themselves.

The report goes on for 15 pages about how Paterson's staff was reacting before, during and after the series of New York Times reports this spring that catalogued the Executive Chamber's reaction to the fateful Halloween night incident between Johnson and ex-girlfriend Sherr-Una Booker. There is even a subhed, on page 27, entitled "D. Escalating Rumors of a Personal Scandal." 

That's not a good thing.

The report's coup de grâce is a transcript of a voicemail Paterson left for Booker. It reveals Paterson as, essentially, a zombie who thought Booker could salvage what was left of his political career. (Bolded emphasis is ours.) Here's the transcript: 

Sherri, this is David. You should see the way they wrote this story. They’re trying to make it look like I pressured you into dropping this court case. Please help me. Your lawyer – his statement makes it sound the same way. Um, I mean – I was trying to find out about the rumors involving myself. You placed the call to me around ten minutes to four on Sunday, February the 7th – it was the day of the Superbowl. And, um, in the conversation, we just talked about the things that – that – you didn’t say anything about me, and I didn’t say about you. Then we went on to talk about other stuff, but – I hope, uh – you remember that I was not trying to make you do anything, and – I hope your lawyer will do something to help me here, because this, uh, doesn’t look good for me, and I wasn’t in this. And this is exactly what they’re after. And I – I was just not in this and didn’t – um, you know – want to play a role in it. And, to be honest with you, I believe you. So – um, anyway, uh – if you can help to clear this up, because it – that portrayal, that conversation – we didn’t talk for one minute, we talked for ten or fifteen minutes. And, um –I did tell you that I was there for you, and you could call me. But I wasn’t doing it to try to trade it for you dropping the ca- I didn’t even know the court date was Monday, to be honest with you. I’ll talk to you later.

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