Criminal Charges for NY Gov. Paterson Over Yankees Tickets?

| by Mark Berman Opposing Views

The governor of New York could face criminal charges stemming from World Series tickets he received for a game at Yankee Stadium.

Gov. David Paterson asked the Yankees for five tickets to Game 1 of the Series last year. The tickets were for the governor, his son, his son's friend, and two aides. An investigation was launched into whether Paterson violated state law by accepting free tickets.

A report put together by an independent counsel found that Paterson gave "inaccurate and misleading" testimony during the course of the probe.

Paterson told investigators that prior to the game, he intended to pay for all of the tickets except for his own. Apparently it is appropriate for a governor to attend a game as a guest of the team.

The report by former Judge Judith Kaye goes on:

"In addition, [Paterson] testified [before the state Public Integrity Commission] that, while at home prior to the game, he personally wrote and signed an $850 check to pay for the two tickets used by his son and his son’s friend, leaving only the payee section blank; that he brought this partially completed check to the game to pay for the tickets ... that he would forward the check to the Yankees the next day."

However, the report found that might not be exactly true:

"Contrary to the governor’s testimony, he had not formed an intent prior to the game that the tickets other than his own would be paid for. Evidence indicates that his decision to pay for the tickets for his son and his son’s friend was made following a press inquiry the day after the game.

"In addition, evidence indicates that, contrary to the governor’s testimony, he did not partially prepare and bring a check for $850 to the game to pay for tickets for his son and his son’s friend. However, the question of whether the governor gave intentionally false testimony on this issue is clouded by the fact that the governor testified regarding his preparation of a check after the commission marked a copy of the check submitted to the Yankees as an exhibit and entries on that check were read aloud to the visually impaired Governor during a break in the testimony."

It is now up to the District Attorney of the state capital of Albany to decide whether criminal charges are warranted.

Paterson was thrust into the governor's mansion in 2008 when Eliot Spitzer abruptly resigned amid a prostitution scandal. Paterson seemed overmatched from the start. He announced his intention to run for reelection this year, then quit the race a week later when he realized he had virtually no support.