Johnson Responds to Release of Police Report

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(Sacramento, CA)
Thursday, April 17, 2008

The report surfaced this week when perennial mayoral candidate Leonard Padilla gave it to the media after requesting it from the Phoenix Police Department himself.  Though the stories came out Tuesday night and Wednesday morning, Johnson didn’t respond until reporters asked him about it yesterday. 

Johnson held a press conference at Cesar Chavez Park in Sacramento to pick up a labor endorsement. With the statue of the labor leader behind him, he said his lawyer is looking into a possible defamation suit against Padilla.
Johnson: “Unfortunately, accusations have been made that have been dropped and no charges have been ever assessed toward me.  And it’s unfortunate that the timing of these things are being brought forward on a regular basis.” 
When the Sacramento Bee reached the woman from the Phoenix case, she said, “Unfortunately, I’m not able to talk to you.”  Asked Thursday if he paid her a settlement, Johnson gave this response:
Johnson: “I think the important thing – and I’ve always said this all along – is that you have to protect the rights of individuals.  And privacy rights are at the first and foremost of what I have to do on a regular basis.” 
The story’s been out for a while.  It first emerged soon after Johnson announced his bid for mayor early last month.  Yesterday, campaign manager Erin Lehane said the campaign would “ride over” any more of what she called “mudslinging.”
Lehane: “You guys in the press, the opposition, can continue to run the same old story.  But that’s not the story that we’re interested – and you know what, it’s not the story the voters of Sacramento are interested in.”
Johnson and Padilla are two of several candidates challenging Sacramento’s current mayor, Heather Fargo.  In a statement, Fargo said: “I have no comment on the allegations against Mr. Johnson.  It is his place to comment, and I think it is time for him to do so.