Lt. Gov. Richard Ravitch, left, and Gov. David Paterson's press secretary Marissa Shorenstein, walk to the governor's office at the Capitol in Albany, N.Y., Monday, March 8, 2010. (AP Photo/Mike Groll)
Another top-level aide in Gov. David Paterson’s office, his press secretary Marissa Shorenstein, has resigned.
In a statement today, Shorenstein said "it has been a privilege to serve New York State for the past two years."
“Due to the circumstances that have led to my unwitting involvement in recent news stories, I can no longer do my job effectively," she said.
The move comes amid a string of departures from Paterson’s cabinet as the embattled Governor faces an ethics probe over allegations he accepted Yankees tickets and lied about it under oath.
He is also accused of inappropriately intervening into a domestic violence case involving former aide, David Johnson. Paterson and state police are accused of contacting the accuser, Sherr-una Booker, about the case.
Shoerenstein’s decision to leave the Paterson’s camp comes on the heels of two other high level resignations in his cabinet. His
Director of Communications, Peter Kauffmann, turned in his walking papers, saying in a statement: "I cannot in good conscience continue in my current position."
New York State Police Harry Corbitt resigned early this month after admitting that state troopers had contacted Booker over the assault allegations.
A week later, Corbitt’s deputy, Officer Pedro J. Perez also stepped down, but in a letter to Paterson he denied that it was because of the domestic violence probe. “I know my decisions were honest and rightly motivated,” he said.
Speaking on Don Imus' radio show this morning, Paterson said he never acted inappropriately in the domestic abuse case. He said he never urged Booker to do anything but "follow the law."
NBCNewYork learned two weeks ago that Shorenstein had sent an email to an intermediary, state worker Deneane Brown, asking Booker to sign a missive that would exonerate her former beau, David Johnson.
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 but she never appeared at a family court hearing to press charges against Johnson. The case was dismissed.
Paterson has denied his guilt and today he told Imus that he is certain to be exonerated in the ethics probe. He says emails will prove that he never acted inappropriately.
Only moments after Shorenstein officialyl resigned, Paterson announced the appointment of Morgan Hook as Director of Communications. Hook had managed Governor Paterson's Albany press office since May of 2008 and most recently served as Upstate Press Secretary for Governor Paterson.
"Morgan Hook has been a key member of my staff for the last two years, contributing extensive media expertise with a strong commitment to public service," Paterson said. "I look forward to working with Morgan on behalf of the people of New York. I know he will continue to serve the State well in his new role."