A damaging New York Times story about a top aide to Gov. David Paterson (D-N.Y.) has forced the embattled governor to request Attorney General Andrew Cuomo launch an investigation into his administration. 

The results could provide the popular Democratic AG with even more ammunition for his expected primary challenge against Paterson.

The Times reported that David Johnson, a top aide to Paterson, "violently assaulted" his former common-law girlfriend in October last year. The woman sought a protective order against Johnson, but dropped her case after being visited by a member of the governor's personal security detail and receiving a phone call from the governor.

It's the second Times piece in as many weeks that focuses on problems in the Paterson administration.

Paterson's spokesman said the governor's call "actually took place the day before the scheduled court hearing and maintained that the woman had initiated it. He declined to answer further questions about his role in the matter," the Times reported.

The story said Paterson's role in the case is "unclear" but it insinuates he made an "effort to make a potential political embarrassment go away."

Cuomo has not formally announced he's challenging Paterson but he leads in the polls and has banked a sizeable campaign warchest.

Meanwhile, Democratic Rep. Steve Israel (N.Y.) has reportedly called on Paterson to abandon his campaign as a result of the Times piece.