NY governor linked to prostitution ring
By AMY WESTFELDT, Associated Press Writer 34 minutes
NEW YORK - Gov. Eliot Spitzer, the crusading
politician who built his career on rooting out
corruption, apologized Monday after allegations
surfaced that he paid thousands of dollars for a
high-end call girl. He did not elaborate on the
scandal, which drew calls for his resignation.
At a hastily called news conference, Spitzer stood
next to his stone-faced wife and bit his lips, telling
reporters: "I have acted in a way that violates my
obligations to my family."
"I have disappointed and failed to live up to the
standard I expected of myself," he said. "I must now
dedicate some time to regain the trust of my family."
As he walked out, reporters shouted: "Will you
resign?" He did not answer.
The New York Democrat's involvement in the ring was
caught on a federal wiretap as part of an
investigation opened in recent months, according to a
law enforcement official who spoke to The Associated
Press on condition of anonymity because of the ongoing
Four people allegedly connected to the ring,
identified in court papers as the Emperors Club VIP,
were arrested last week. The ring arranged connections
between wealthy men and more than 50 prostitutes in
New York, Washington, Los Angeles, Miami, London and
Paris, prosecutors said.
According to the law enforcement official, Spitzer is
the person identified in legal papers as "Client 9,"
who paid to bring the prostitute named "Kristen" from
New York to Washington for a four-hour tryst at a
hotel on Feb. 13.
The court papers gave this account of the encounter:
A defendant, Temeka Rachelle Lewis, confirmed that
Client 9 would be "paying for everything train
tickets, cab fare from the hotel and back, mini bar or
room service, travel time, and hotel."
The client paid $4,300 in cash to the service, with
some being used for the encounter and the rest
apparently to be used for credit. When discussing how
the payments would be arranged, Client 9 told Lewis:
"Yup, same as in the past, no question about it,"
suggesting it was a routine exchange.
The prostitute, who authorities described as a
"petite, pretty brunette, 5-feet-5 inches, and 105
pounds," met the client in Room 871 at about 10 p.m.
In a conversation with the booking agent, Kristen said
that she liked the client and that she did not think
he was difficult.
The agent said she had been told the client "would ask
you to do things that ... you might not think were
safe ... very basic things," according to the papers,
but that Kristen responded by saying, "I have a way of
dealing with that ... I'd be, like, listen dude, you
really want the sex?"
Spitzer has not been charged, and prosecutors did not
comment on the case. The four defendants charged in
the case last week were charged with violating the
federal Mann Act, a 1910 law that outlaws traveling
across state lines for prostitution.
The scandal was first reported on The New York Times'
Spitzer spoke about an hour and a half later. Stunned
lawmakers gathered around televisions at the state
Capitol in Albany to watch, and a media mob gathered
outside the office of Democratic Lt. Gov. David
Paterson, who would become governor if Spitzer were to
resign. It took opponents only minutes to call for his
"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," said
Assembly Republican leader James Tedisco. "He should
resign his office immediately."
Spitzer, 48, built his political reputation on rooting
out corruption, including several headline-making
battles with Wall Street while serving as attorney
general. He stormed into the governor's office in 2006
with a historic share of the vote, vowing to continue
his no-nonsense approach to fixing one of the nation's
Time magazine had named him "Crusader of the Year"
when he was attorney general and the tabloids
proclaimed him "Eliot Ness."
But his term as governor has been marred by problems,
including an unpopular plan to grant driver's licenses
to illegal immigrants and a plot by his aides to smear
Spitzer's main Republican nemesis.
Spitzer had been expected to testify to the state
Public Integrity Commission he had created to answer
for his role in the scandal, in which his aides were
accused of misusing state police to compile travel
records to embarrass Senate Republican leader Joseph
Bruno wouldn't comment when asked what Spitzer should
"I feel very badly for the governor's wife, for his
children," Bruno said. "The important thing for the
people of New York state is that people in office do
the right thing."
Spitzer, who has three teenage daughters, had served
two terms as attorney general where he pursued
criminal and civil cases and cracked down on
misconduct and conflicts of interests on Wall Street
and in corporate America. He had previously been a
prosecutor in the Manhattan District Attorney's
Office, handling organized crime and white-collar
His cases as state attorney general included a few
criminal prosecutions of prostitution rings and into
tourism involving prostitutes.
In 2004, he was part of an investigation of an escort
service in New York City that resulted in the arrest
of 18 people on charges of promoting prostitution and
Associated Press Writer Mike Gormley contributed to
this report from Albany, N.Y.