Assemblyman Phil Boyle (R-Bay Shore) says the New York State Assembly should begin impeachment proceedings against Gov. David A. Paterson if he does not voluntarily resign.
He said his call is driven by the seriousness of the unfolding accusations that the governor was directly involved in efforts to quash domestic violence accusations against a close aide.
"Only an impeachment trial will help us to determine if the governor is guilty or innocent of these allegations," Boyle said. "If a trial proves the governor did in fact try to influence this witness he has to be removed from office immediately."
As a minority member of the Assembly, however, Boyle's chances of success with this proposal are slim to nil. The Assembly and governor's office did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
But Boyle said the governor could be guilty of either witness tampering (a felony) or obstruction of justice, if reports detailed in recent news accounts in The New York Times and elsewhere are proven true.
They allege that, after Paterson confidant David Johnson was accused of assaulting his girlfriend, the governor instructed two government employees to contact the alleged victim; that she herself testified the State Police pressured her not to press charges; and that the governor himself spoke to her a day before she failed to appear in court to finalize an order of protection.
The last Assembly impeachment trial took place in the 1920s.