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NY governor linked to prostitution ring

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  • Greg Cannon
    http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20080310/ap_on_re_us/spitzer_prostitution NY governor linked to prostitution ring By AMY WESTFELDT, Associated Press Writer 34
    Message 1 of 1 , Mar 10, 2008
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      http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20080310/ap_on_re_us/spitzer_prostitution

      NY governor linked to prostitution ring

      By AMY WESTFELDT, Associated Press Writer 34 minutes
      ago

      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
      inquiry.

      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'
      Web site.

      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
      resignation.

      "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
      worst governments.

      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.

      Bruno wouldn't comment when asked what Spitzer should
      do.

      "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
      crime cases.

      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
      related charges.

      ___

      Associated Press Writer Mike Gormley contributed to
      this report from Albany, N.Y.
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