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State lawmakers stand by Paterson to stay in office

ALBANY - A state employee allegedly asked by Gov. David A. Paterson to intervene in a domestic violence case involving one of his aides has told investigators the governor wanted the matter to "go away," according to a report published last night.

Citing a knowledgeable source, The New York Times said state worker Deneane Brown quoted Paterson telling her to convey to the woman who claimed to have been assaulted: "Tell her the governor wants her to make this go away."

A spokesman for Paterson didn't immediately respond to a request for comment. Brown, who works at the Division of Housing and Community Renewal, couldn't be reached.

The latest Times article came a day after it revealed Paterson had requested Brown and his press secretary contact the woman at the center of the Oct. 31 alleged domestic violence incident.

Earlier Tuesday, the State Legislature's top leaders stood by Paterson amid new calls for him to step down.

Paterson said last night he had no plans to resign because "I don't think that I've been accused of anything." He said he could not speak about the case because of a probe by Attorney General Andrew Cuomo.

Paterson spent most of the day in the Executive Mansion huddled with the legislative chiefs and other key Democrats.

After lunch with the governor, Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver and State Sen. John Sampson emerged, each saying, "I do not feel he should resign."

Jay Jacobs, head of the state and Nassau Democratic committees, agreed, adding that he told Paterson to "get his side of the story" out quickly to the public.

Still, influential groups continued to desert Paterson. The state chapter of the National Organization for Women said, "in spite of the governor's heretofore excellent record on women's issues, it is now time for the governor to step down."

Paterson has said he only learned of the incident's severity last month when contacted by the Times. He has acknowledged speaking with the woman, but said he acted properly. After their conversation, she didn't show up for a Bronx Family Court proceeding and her request for an order of protection was dismissed.

Jacobs, who met with Paterson for an hour, said, "The governor needs to demonstrate that he can govern and he needs to answer these allegations - and he has answers for them."

Paterson was expected to meet privately this morning with his cabinet.

Lt. Gov. Richard Ravitch said he wasn't preparing for succession: "I'm not aware of any compelling reason for him to resign at this point."

However, Sen. Craig Johnson (D-Port Washington) said Paterson should step down because he had lost the public confidence. "It would be better to have a new party negotiating the budget," Johnson said.

Assemb. Phil Boyle (R-Bay Shore) went further, calling on the Assembly's Democratic majority to convene an impeachment trial of Paterson if he refuses to step down. But the call fell on deaf ears in the lower chamber where Democrats have an iron grip. Silver declined to comment directly on Boyle's call.

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