Monday, March 10, 2008
According to a report by The New York Times (The Times), New York Governor Eliot Spitzer informed his senior administration officials on Monday that he was being investigated for using a "high-class" prostitution ring. The Times report cites anonymous officials who work for Spitzer. A law enforcement official who spoke to Associated Press on condition of anonymity stated that a federal wiretap related to a recent investigation revealed that Spitzer paid for prostitutes from an online service under investigation.
ABC News reported that, according to federal officials, the federal investigation into the prostitution ring was initially motivated by money transfers which led agents to believe Governor Spitzer was hiding bribes. Sources familiar with the case spoke to The Washington Post and CNN, and said that Spitzer is identified as "Client 9" in court documents and on a federal wiretap.
In a brief press conference held Monday afternoon, Spitzer apologized to his family and to the public, but did not directly admit or deny involvement in the prostitution ring. "I apologize first and most importantly to my family. I apologize to the public, to whom I promised better. I must now dedicate some time to rededicate my trust to my family," he said, adding that he "acted in a way that violates his obligation to his family."
Spitzer did not answer questions from reporters, indicating he would have more to say "in short order." He did not admit or deny any allegations.
The Times' report alleges that Gov. Spitzer was a client of the Emperors Club VIP, a high-priced international prostitution ring. Last week, federal investigators arrested four people involved with the operation in and around New York. The investigation utilized undercover work and wiretap recordings at various club locations, including New York and Washington, with the latter allegedly containing Spitzer's voice.
Reports indicate the governor learned on Friday, March 7, of federal investigators' discovery of his alleged involvement in the prostitution ring. He informed his top aides on Sunday night before meeting with the rest of his staff Monday, according to The Times. Sources for the Fox News Channel and WCBS-TV in New York report Spitzer could resign and be indicted, in which case the Lieutenant Governor of New York, David Paterson, would become governor.
James Tedisco, the New York State Assembly Republican Minority Leader, says Spitzer should resign and state Republican leadership will initiate impeachment proceedings if the governor fails to step down. "Today's news that Eliot Spitzer was likely involved with a prostitution ring and his refusal to deny it leads to one inescapable conclusion: he has disgraced his office and the entire state of New York. He should resign his office immediately," stated Tedisco.
== Sources ==
"Impeachment Proceeding? Republicans Set Deadline for Governor's Resignation" — WCBS-TV, March 11, 2008
"Affidavit: Spitzer met with prostitute 'Kristen'" — CNN, March 10, 2008
William Branigin. "N.Y. Gov. Eliot Spitzer Tied to Prostitution Ring" — The Washington Post, March 10, 2008
Brian Ross. "It Wasn't the Sex; Suspicious $$ Transfers Led to Spitzer: Officials Say Spitzer Is 'Client 9' in a Federal Complaint Against the Prostitution Ring" — ABC News, March 10, 2008
John Christoffersen. "Another Tri-State Governor in Scandal" — The Associated Press, March 10, 2008
"NY Assembly Minority leader says Gov should resign" — Reuters, March 10, 2008
"NY Gov. Eliot Spitzer's Statement" — Orlando Sentinel, March 10, 2008
"Governor Spitzer involved in prostitution ring" — RecordOnline, March 10, 2008
"Gov. Spitzer apologizes to family, public" — CNN, March 10, 2008
"Sources: Spitzer to Resign Following Reports of 'Involvement' With Prostitution Ring, Faces Indictment" — FOX News Channel, March 10, 2008
Danny Hakim and William K. Rashbaum. "Spitzer Is Linked to Prostitution Ring" — New York Times, March 10, 2008
Alan Feuer. "Four Charged With Running Online Prostitution Ring" — New York Times, March 7, 2008