- The Washington Times - Thursday, August 12, 2010


Governor’s aide to face assault charge

NEW YORK | An aide to New York Gov. David A. Paterson surrendered Thursday to New York City authorities on assault charges stemming from a 2009 domestic-violence case that touched off an evidence-tampering investigation in Albany.

David Johnson turned himself in to investigators with the Bronx District Attorney’s Office on misdemeanor assault charges and was awaiting arraignment.

Mr. Paterson’s involvement in the case he made a phone call to the accuser, who soon dropped her allegations caused him serious political damage, even though investigators found no evidence of witness tampering.

Buffeted by other ethics questions about World Series tickets, the Democratic governor soon dropped plans to run for a full term this fall, while saying he intended to finish the year in office.

Mr. Johnson was suspended without pay in February, and Paterson spokesman Morgan Hook said Thursday that his status has not changed. The governor’s office had no further comment.

The confrontation occurred on Halloween, with Mr. Johnson and his then-girlfriend, Sherr-una Booker. Angry over how she was dressed, she said he choked her, threw her against a dresser and ripped her Halloween costume. The case was initially handled in Family Court and dropped without prejudice because Miss Booker did not appear for a hearing.

Mr. Johnson’s attorney, Oscar Michelen, declined to comment Thursday until he could review the charges.

The attorney general’s office investigated whether intervention by Mr. Paterson and the state troopers in the days after the confrontation caused Miss Booker to call off the case.

But a report by retired Judge Judith Kaye, who was put in charge of the review, found no criminal activity by anyone except maybe Mr. Johnson.


Democrat quits over Palin remark

CONCORD | A New Hampshire Democrat has quit the state legislature after cracking a joke on Facebook about Sarah Palin’s death.

Rep. Timothy Horrigan of Durham posted a comment Wednesday that said a “dead Palin wd be even more dangerous than a live one” and she “is all about her myth & if she was dead she cdn’t commit any more gaffes.”

Mr. Horrigan apologized Thursday and resigned. He is also discontinuing his re-election campaign.

The state Democratic Party chairman calls the remarks “out of line.”

Another New Hampshire Democrat has also been criticized this week for a Facebook comment about Mrs. Palin, the former governor of Alaska. House candidate Keith Halloran apologized Thursday for posting a death wish for Mrs. Palin in response to a post about the plane crash that killed former Alaska Sen. Ted Stevens.


State: Let police question immigrants

RICHMOND | Gov. Robert F. McDonnell is asking the federal government to deputize Virginia’s state troopers to enforce federal immigration law.

In a letter to Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, Mr. McDonnell formally seeks what is known as a 287(g) agreement.

The agreements with federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials permit participating state and local police to question and detain illegal immigrants suspected in crimes.

Mr. McDonnell said reaching an agreement for the state police would improve public safety in Virginia while providing help to undermanned federal immigration agencies.


Cuomo’s TV ad targets ethics

ALBANY | Democratic candidate for governor Andrew M. Cuomo’s latest statewide television ad targets what it calls disgraceful and dysfunctional Albany.

The ad scheduled to begin running Thursday seeks support for his proposed 20-point plan to improve ethical behavior in state government. He wants a ban on pay-to-play practices, in which lobbyists are among the biggest campaign contributors.

Republican candidates Rick Lazio and Carl Paladino have already made ethics a key element of their campaigns. They say Mr. Cuomo as the leader of the Democratic Party and the state’s attorney general should have already made his fellow Democrats behave more ethically.

Mr. Lazio criticized Mr. Cuomo for attending the fundraiser Wednesday night for Democratic Rep. Charles B. Rangel, who faces House ethics charges.


Ben Quayle: Obama ‘worst president’ ever

PHOENIX | The son of former Vice President Dan Quayle unveiled a TV campaign ad Wednesday in his bid for Congress in which he calls President Obama “the worst president in history” and tells Arizona voters that he wants to “knock the hell” out of Washington.

Ben Quayle’s provocative ad, aimed at voters in Arizona’s 3rd Congressional District ahead of the Aug. 24 GOP primary, was released amid allegations that he posted items under an alias for a racy social website a few years ago.

In the campaign ad, the 33-year-old Mr. Quayle faces the camera directly and begins by saying, “Barack Obama is the worst president in history.” Mr. Quayle’s generation will “inherit a weakened country,” he says.

He goes on to implore voters to send him to Congress: “I love Arizona. I was raised right. Somebody has to go to Washington and knock the hell out of the place.”

The ad was to begin airing Wednesday on Phoenix-area TV stations, and was posted on the Internet. Mr. Quayle’s campaign would not reveal the amount of the ad buy.

Mr. Quayle, who is a lawyer and managing director of a Scottsdale, Ariz., investment firm, has never held elected office. But he has emerged as the top fundraiser in the crowded field of 10, and profits from name recognition that comes with being the son of Dan Quayle, the former Indiana senator and vice president under President George H.W. Bush.


Employee benefits upgrade planned

Obama administration officials say they’re planning a major upgrade to consumer protections for millions of workers covered by job-based health, disability insurance and retirement plans.

The focus is on spelling out consumer rights when a dispute arises with the plan; for example, when an employee’s claim for disability benefits is denied.

Assistant Labor Secretary Phyllis Borzi says “people need to have a clear road map to appeal claims.”

Department officials say they are aiming for new regulations that require plans to clearly explain their decisions, how employees can appeal them, and what workers need to know to safeguard their rights.


Seizure drug gets brain warning

Federal health regulators are warning doctors and patients that an anti-seizure drug from GlaxoSmithKline PLC can cause rare inflammation of the brain and spinal cord.

The Food and Drug Administration said Thursday it is working with the British drugmaker to add new warnings and labeling information to the company’s drug Lamictal.

The agency said it has received reports of 40 cases of aseptic meningitis between 1994, when Lamictal was approved, and last November.

Thirty-five patients needed to be hospitalized, the agency said in a statement. The symptoms usually emerged within the first month and a half of treatment.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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