Even a Governor Deserves Due Process

The allegation against him are serious, but they are just that, allegations.

By GABE PRESSMAN
|  Friday, Mar 5, 2010  |  Updated 5:00 PM EDT
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Even a Governor Deserves Due Process

AP

New York Gov. David Paterson speaks to reporters as he arrives at his midtown office on Friday.

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Even a governor deserves due process.

The allegation against him are serious. But they are just that, allegations -- and to force a sitting governor out of office on the basis of unproved allegations would set a bad precedent for the future.

The governor is accused of lying to the Public Integrity Commission about whether he paid the New York Yankees for World Series tickets. He is also accused of trying to enlist his staff to in persuade the girlfriend of his aide, David Johnson, not to press charges of assault against Johnson.  It’s charged, too, that the governor called the woman to persuade her to make the domestic violence charges go away.

The fact that several key aides to the governor have quit, claiming they couldn’t in good conscience,continue to serve, makes Paterson’s position less tenable.

Yet it’s up to Attorney General Andrew Cuomo and the Albany District Attorney, David Soares, to determine if any criminality is involved.

The leader of one good government group, Susan Lerner of Common Cause, has called on the governor to resign. But Blair Horner of the New York Pubic Interest Research Group says the governor “should not be denied due process.”

Horner says the charges are not yet proved, that Governor Paterson is entitled to present his case. “But,” Horner asserted, “if he feels he has to devote so much time to defending himself that he can not govern then he should resign.”

There seems to be some hysteria out there, a rush to judgment. We can wait for the Attorney General’s staff to bring in their findings.

Horner is right. This governor is entitled to due process, the same as any other citizen.
 

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