Gov. Paterson: I Am the Leak; NY Times: No, You're Not

Thursday, Mar 18, 2010  |  Updated 3:47 PM EDT
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Gov. Paterson: I Am the Leak; NY Times: No, You're Not

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Gov. David Paterson

Gov. David Paterson says he was the first person to reveal to the media a conversation he had with the woman at the center of a domestic violence scandal involving one of his aides.  But the New York Times, the paper that broke the story, says not so fast.

In an interview Thursday with John Gambling on WOR radio, Paterson says he was the first to say there was a conversation between himself and Sherr-una Booker -- a former girlfriend to David Johnson, an aide on leave from the executive office.  When Gambling said the media uncovered it, Paterson objected.

"That's actually not true," Paterson replied, according to a transcript in the Daily Politics blog. "I don't want to go into it, but the person who informed others that there was such a conversation was me."

A day after the conversation with Paterson, Booker failed to show up for a court hearing in the case against Johnson, resulting in its dismissal.  Gambling pressed the governor on this, asking him again whether he leaked the information about the phone call with Booker.

"Correct," Paterson responded. "That's all I'm going to say about it. It's not my surmise. It's an actual fact. But the individual who first made it clear that there had been a conversation was myself."

Paterson says he didn't try to persuade her to drop the complaint. The New York Times, which first reported the incident, posted a story on its Web site Thursday  calling Paterson's claims "not accurate."

"In the course of reporting, The Times learned that the governor had called Ms. Booker, but that information did not come from the governor, " the Times story said.

On Wednesday, a fifth Paterson administration member, Press Secretary Marissa Shorenstein, resigned.

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