Ex-judge: Possible criminal charges for NY gov
ALBANY, N.Y. – A special investigation has concluded that Gov. David Paterson's testimony about his plans to pay for World Series tickets last year was "inaccurate and misleading" and warrants consideration of criminal charges by a prosecutor.
In a report Thursday, former state Chief Judge Judith Kaye noted four of five tickets to the World Series opening game between the New York Yankees and the Philadelphia Phillies were paid for shortly afterward, following a press inquiry. She said there's a question whether Paterson gave "intentionally false testimony" to the state Commission on Public Integrity about having written an $850 check in advance for two tickets.
Commission staff recommended last week that Paterson should be fined more than $90,000 in civil penalties for soliciting and accepting the tickets in violation of ethics law.
However, Kaye said the perjury issue was "clouded" by the way Paterson's testimony was given, with the entries read aloud to the legally blind governor. If Paterson had personally examined the check used to pay for two tickets, which was not in his handwriting, that "would have been obvious to the governor," she said.
Paterson's private attorney, Theodore Wells Jr., declined immediate comment Thursday.
Paterson has denied any wrongdoing. He eventually paid for two tickets, and staff members paid for two. He maintains going to the game was part of a ceremonial public duty as governor that entitled him to a ticket.
Albany County District Attorney David Soares is separately reviewing the possible criminal case. Spokeswoman Heather Orth said the DA's office was aware of Kaye's report Thursday and would have no further comment until the review is complete.