ByÂ Michael Gormley-Associated Press
ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) â€”Â Gov. David Paterson could face a criminal charge for what a special counsel called inaccurate and misleading testimony on tickets he secured last year from theÂ New York Yankees for the opening game of the World Series.
The state’s former chief judge, acting as the special counsel, has asked a district attorney to consider a perjury investigation. That doesn’t necessarily mean thatÂ Mr. Paterson, who rose to office in 2008 whenGov. Eliot Spitzer resigned amid a prostitution scandal, will ever be charged, though.
Former prosecutors say perjury is a notoriously difficult charge to prove, if it’s pursued at all.
“If everyone in that Capitol who lies is going to be charged with perjury, the district attorney better hire a lot more prosecutors,” saidÂ David Grandeau, former head of the state’s lobbying commission and a widely respected investigator of misconduct in a capital noted for it.
In a report Thursday, former state Chief JudgeÂ Judith Kaye noted four of five ofÂ Mr. Paterson‘s tickets to the World Series opening game between theÂ Yankees and theÂ Philadelphia Phillies were paid for shortly afterward, following a press inquiry from theÂ New York Post newspaper.
Ms. Kaye said there’s a question whether the Democratic governor gave “intentionally false testimony” to the stateÂ Commission on Public Integrityabout having written an $850 check in advance for two tickets.
However,Â Ms. Kaye said the perjury issue was “clouded” by the wayÂ Mr. Paterson‘s testimony was given, with the entries read aloud to the legally blind governor. IfÂ Mr. 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.
Mr. Paterson‘s private attorney,Â Theodore Wells Jr., saidÂ Mr. Patersondidn’t lie, and he notedÂ Ms. Kaye‘s report doesn’t recommend bringing charges or concludeÂ Mr. Paterson intended to give false testimony.
“We are therefore hopeful that [Albany County District AttorneyÂ David] Soares will ultimately conclude that no criminal charges are warranted,” he said.
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