Paterson aide loses job after NY domestic dispute

An aide to New York Gov. David Paterson who was accused of domestic violence, in a case that embroiled Paterson in scandal and ultimately helped the governor decide to abandon his bid for a full term, has lost his job.

State Comptroller's Office records show that David Johnson has been off the state payroll since Nov. 19. He had been on unpaid leave since Feb. 25. Records show he was making almost $70,000 a year before his suspension.

The case led to claims of evidence-tampering at the top levels of the governor's office and state police, in part because of phone calls by Paterson to Johnson's accuser, his ex-girlfriend. No misdeeds were proven.

Johnson's attorney didn't immediately respond to a phone request for comment on Monday.

In a recent interview with The Associated Press, Paterson called Johnson "a very standup person."

But he paused when asked about his longtime employee, whose rise from driver to close aide reportedly rankled some other aides in a stormy administration.

"I think he did very good work," Paterson said of Johnson. "I think most staff people at some point struggle with how much authority they have. It is just an across-the-board issue for non-elected, appointed positions."

The confrontation between Johnson and his then-girlfriend occurred on Halloween 2009. She alleged that Johnson, angry over how she was dressed, choked her, threw her against a dresser and ripped her costume. Johnson has pleaded not guilty to assault, menacing, harassment and criminal mischief.

Paterson ended his campaign for a full term amid the scandal, saying he couldn't clear his name and run for office at the same time.