Updated 02/26/2010 06:56 AM
Governor's Criminal Justice head resigns
A member of Governor David Paterson's administration is resigning after a report that the governor and State Police had contact with a woman who reported a domestic dispute with a top aide. Josh Robin has the latest on the resignation of Denise O'Donnell.
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NEW YORK -- A top member of Governor David Paterson's administration announced her resignation today, a day after the governor suspended a top aide following a published report that he allegedly assaulted a woman.
In her resignation letter released Thursday afternoon, Criminal Justice Services Commissioner Denise O'Donnell cited the handling of the controversy over top Paterson aide David Johnson, who allegedly beat his then live-in girlfriend.
The New York Times reported that the alleged victim went to court twice - complaining that the State Police were pressuring her to drop the case.
The woman's lawyer said she then received a phone call from the governor himself - right before she failed to show up for a hearing earlier this month, when the case was dismissed.
"The fact that the governor and members of the State Police have acknowledged direct contact with a woman who had filed for an order of protection against a senior member of the Governor's staff is a very serious matter," O'Donnell said in a press release. "These actions are unacceptable regardless of their intent."
Speaking on the radio Thursday morning, the governor asked New Yorkers to reserve judgment until the facts come out.
"I don't wanna talk about that because those are things the attorney general will ask me about and I don't want to step in front of it," Paterson said.
Paterson has suspended Johnson during the investigation. Johnson rose through the ranks from a driver to a top aide to the governor.
The radio appearance has been the governor's only public appearance thus far today, but he is expected to attend events this evening. He has asked State Attorney General Andrew Cuomo to investigate the matter.
"The governor has formally referred to this office a matter for investigation and this office is proceeding to determine if criminal or other wrongdoing is involved," said Cuomo's office in a statement released Thursday.
State Police also released a statement saying, "At the request of the Attorney General, the State Police will not be conducting an internal investigation into this situation. The State Police will fully cooperate with the Attorney General’s Office and their investigation. Further, it would be inappropriate at this time for the State Police to comment in any way about this case while the Attorney General’s investigation is ongoing."