After a two-hour meeting inside Harlem's Sylvia's restaurant, the Rev. Al Sharpton announced that community leaders will not ask Governor David Paterson to resign.
Instead, they will seek to meet with the governor, Speaker Sheldon Silver and Senate Majority leader Sampson.
Sharpton said while others criticized Paterson at the meeting, all agreed to call for "due process," and let multiple investigations unfold. Sharpton said State Sen. Eric Adams persuaded the group Paterson can handle budget negotiations, at least for now. Several attendees compared the situation to Bill Clinton's ordeal-- when the former President overcame impeachment and remained in office.
The meeting came on the same day that another one of Paterson's top aides announced his resignation.
In a statement Director of Communications, Peter Kauffmann, says, "As a former officer in the United States Navy, integrity and commitment to public service are values I take seriously ... Unfortunately, as recent developments have come to light, I cannot in good conscience continue in my current position."
Kauffmann says he cannot serve in a administration plagued by scandals that threaten the jobs of Paterson and those he directed.
His testimony and e-mails were critical in a state charge that Paterson illegally obtained Yankee tickets.
Paterson was already on the hot seat for allegedly interfering with a domestic-abuse case involving top aide David Johnson when on Wednesday an ethics commission accused him of lying under oath about soliciting free World Series tickets from the Yankees.
On Tuesday the superintendent of the New York State Police Harry Corbitt announced that he was retiring.
Last Thursday, Denise O'Donnell, the former State Commissioner of Criminal Justice Services and Assistant Secretary to the Governor for Criminal Justice, resigned over the scandal, saying conduct by the state police was "distressing" for an administration that has devoted itself to reducing domestic violence.
Paterson says he is innocent and won't quit. His office didn't immediately respond to requests for comment Thursday.
Trying to avoid NBCNewYork's cameras, Paterson rushed out of a rear exit of the Yale Club in midtown after having lunch with former Mayor Dinkins.
When asked if he would be governor tomorrow, Paterson replied, "Yes." When asked if he would be governor next week, he did not answer.
When asked if he violated his oath of office, Paterson ignored the question and escorted by his State Police security detail, he ducked into his waiting SUV. New reports indicate the governor has sought the expertise of high-profile lawyer Theodore Wells Kr., who convinced federal prosecutors not to charge disgraced former Gov. Eliot Spitzer for patronizing prostitution, according to The New York Times.
Also, NBCNewYork confirmed Thursday night that Paterson's press secretary, Marissa Shorenstein, sent an email to an intermediary, state worker Deneane Brown, asking Sherr-una Booker, the woman at the center of the domestic abuse scandal, to exonerate her former beau.
The missive contained a draft statement reading: "David Johnson and I dated from x date until October, 2009. Though our break-up was not friendly, there was nothing acrimonious about our relationship or its ending. Any allegations to the contrary are false."
Booker refused to sign off on it. And while Booker has yet to speak directly to the media, her lawyer, friends and family paint a picture of a distraught woman who has been victimized all over again by the publicity surrounding her case. Her brother told the Daily News she left the country and he doesn't know when she's due to return. He also said the cancer survivor's health has suffered from the undue stress the situation has put on her, and she apparently hasn't gone to work in a week.
The gold name plate on her office door in the customer service department at HCC/Lincoln Medical and Mental Health Center was removed two days ago, according to the News.
Paterson, too, has been in a sort of hiding, spending an inordinate amount of time in his executive mansion, holed up in secretive meetings and dodging media cameras and questions. But party leaders say he's got to step up soon.
New York State Democratic party chair Jay Jacobs said time is running out for the governor in terms of him coming up with a public response to the surrounding turmoil.
"The governor's got to get his story out the longer we wait the more the public is going to believe the narrative that's out there, you know, that the governor did something wrong," Jacobs told NBCNewYork.
"I know David Paterson, he is a good decent, honorable individual, he believes he's hurt no one and done nothing wrong," said Jacobs. "Yet I have every confidence that when he reaches the conclusion that he can't get his message out the way he wants, he will ultimately do the right thing, if that need be."
Today, sources confirm to NBCNewYork Paterson's chief of staff Larry Schwartz has called a afternoon staff meeting. An insider describes it as an anticipated "pep talk: and not an announcement of any sort."