- The Washington Times - Thursday, March 18, 2010

ALBANY, N.Y. | New York Gov. David A. Paterson’s press secretary on Wednesday became the fourth top staffer to quit amid dual scandals, resigning just hours after her boss publicly proclaimed for the first time that he did nothing wrong when he talked to a woman who had accused one of his top aides of abuse.

Mr. Paterson also said Wednesday on a radio show that Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, whom he appointed to the seat, threw him “under the bus” by suggesting he might have to resign over his role in the abuse allegations.

In a separate scandal that threatens his administration, Mr. Paterson’s attorney on Wednesday released a harsh critique of an ethics violation charge against him for accepting World Series tickets, and the state’s former lobbying chief called the ticket investigation “an ethical lynching” of the state’s first black governor.

Press secretary Marissa Shorenstein said she resigned after two years because she could no longer do her job because of the abuse scandal. The New York Times had reported that Miss Shorenstein, at Mr. Paterson’s instruction, called the accuser on the phone.

Shortly after the contact by another Paterson staffer, Deneane Brown, the woman failed to show up for a court date on the case, resulting in its dismissal. Miss Shorenstein reportedly called the woman days later when the issue was being reported by news organizations. A special counsel is investigating whether the administration, including Mr. Paterson and a trooper on his security detail, improperly contacted the woman.

“Due to the circumstances that have led to my unwitting involvement in recent news stories, I can no longer do my job effectively,” Miss Shorenstein said in a brief statement released through a private e-mail account. “Throughout my career I have performed my duties professionally and with integrity, basing my actions on what I believed to be true at the time.”

In the past three weeks, Mr. Paterson’s deputy public-safety secretary, his state police superintendent and his communications director, who was Miss Shorenstein’s boss, have quit because of the scandal.

Mr. Paterson has insisted throughout the resignations and calls for his own that he did nothing wrong, but he has declined to be specific about his contact with the aide’s accuser. But in a radio interview early Wednesday, Mr. Paterson broke his silence and said he didn’t try to persuade the woman to drop her domestic violence complaint.

“I would never, nor did I ever, try to persuade anyone not to take the natural course of the law,” Mr. Paterson said Wednesday on Don Imus’ show on the Fox Business Network.

Mr. Paterson then agreed with Mr. Imus, who asked whether Mrs. Gillibrand - appointed in 2009 to succeed Hillary Rodham Clinton as senator - had thrown the governor “under the bus” as he faced calls for his resignation.

On March 2, Mrs. Gillibrand said that “if the allegations of abuse of power are true, then the governor will be unable to govern, and he will have to step down.”

Mr. Imus asked Wednesday, “What’s that all about?”

“That’s about when you are in a jam, there are people who will throw you under the bus,” Mr. Paterson said.

“Whenever you watch a movie or whenever you read a book [about] someone who is in a terrible or difficult situation, there are always those who do that,” he continued. “They just don’t expect you to get out from under the bus. And when you do, they should be forewarned.”

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