New York Gov. David Paterson broke his silence Wednesday, saying that he didn't try to persuade a woman to drop a domestic violence complaint against a top aide and that his appointee to the U.S. Senate threw him "under the bus."
"I would never, nor did I ever, try to persuade anyone not to take the natural course of the law," Paterson said Wednesday on Don Imus' show on the Fox Business Network.
Paterson then agreed with Imus, who asked whether Democratic U.S. Sen. Kristen Gillibrand, whom Paterson appointed, has thrown the governor "under the bus" as he faced scandal and calls for his resignation.
"The allegations that have been made are very, very serious," Gillibrand told the New York City cable news channel NY1 on March 2. "If the allegations of abuse of power are true, then the governor will be unable to govern and he will have to step down."
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," Paterson said to laughs from the audience at the Hard Rock Cafe in Manhattan.
"Whenever you watch a movie or whenever you read a book 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."
Imus commiserated, then asked whether Paterson has spoken recently to Gillibrand.
"It's hard to talk to anyone when you're under a bus," Paterson quipped.
Gillibrand had no immediate comment.
Paterson is being investigated for whether he made illegal contact with the woman who dropped her complaint against Paterson aide David Johnson, whom Paterson has since suspended. Paterson has insisted he did nothing wrong, but Wednesday's comments were his first specific reference to the accusations. He is not charged with any crime.
Paterson's comments came as his attorney struck back at unrelated accusations by the state ethics board that he sought and obtained World Series tickets from the New York Yankees in violation of a gift ban, then lied about to investigators. Paterson denies any wrongdoing in that case, too.
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