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From the NY Times:

David W. Johnson has worked for Gov. David A. Paterson for much of his adult life. He began as a young, ambitious intern from Harlem when Mr. Paterson was a state legislator. He rose to be Mr. Paterson’s driver, serving as a kind of protector and scheduler.

In recent months, however, Mr. Johnson’s ascent has been striking: he is now one of the most senior people in the governor’s administration, paid $132,000. He is described as Mr. Paterson’s closest confidant, a man with a designated room for his overnight stays in the Executive Mansion, and a broadening role in areas like campaign strategy, government initiatives and the management of the governor’s staff.

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A review of Mr. Johnson’s rise and his history, undertaken after he emerged as perhaps the man closest to the state’s chief executive, shows that he was twice arrested on felony drug charges as a teenager, including a charge of selling cocaine to an undercover officer in Harlem.

The examination of his background, based on interviews and records, shows he has at least one other arrest, for misdemeanor assault in the 1990s, although there is very little publicly available about that case.

In a statement, Mr. Paterson noted how long ago the drug arrests had happened. “David Johnson has demonstrated, over the course of his adult life, that people can change their personal circumstances and achieve success when given a second chance,” he said. “I will not turn my back on someone because of mistakes made as a teenager.”

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