Wednesday, March 12, 2008

The Governor of New York Linked to Prostitution Ring

From the New York Times:

ALBANY - Gov. Eliot Spitzer, who gained national prominence relentlessly pursuing Wall Street wrongdoing, has been caught on a federal wiretap arranging to meet with a high-priced prostitute at a Washington hotel last month, according to a law enforcement official and a person briefed on the investigation.

The wiretap captured a man identified as Client 9 on a telephone call confirming plans to have a woman travel from New York to Washington, where he had reserved a hotel room, according to an affidavit filed in federal court in Manhattan.

The person briefed on the case and the law enforcement official identified Mr. Spitzer as Client 9. Mr. Spitzer, a first term Democrat, today made a brief public appearance during which he apologized for his behavior, and described it as a “private matter.” He did not address his political future.

“I have acted in a way that violates my obligation to my family and violates my or any sense of right or wrong,” said Mr. Spitzer, who appeared with his wife Silda at his Manhattan office. “I apologize first and most importantly to my family. I apologize to the public to whom I promised better.”

“I have disappointed and failed to live up to the standard I expected of myself. I must now dedicate some time to regain the trust of my family.”

Before speaking, Mr. Spitzer stood with his arm around his wife; the two nodded and then strode forward together to face more than 100 reporters. Both had glassy, tear-filled eyes, but they did not cry.

As he went to leave, three reporters called out, "Are you resigning? Are you resigning?", and Mr. Spitzer charged out of the room, slamming the door.

Television crews stand in front New York Governor Elliot Spitzer's apartment building in New York City

From Information Week:

The Emperors Club VIP Web site also wasn't operating Monday, but cached versions of the site offered "spokes models" for "elite" clients, including business executives and professionals, for thousands of dollars at trade shows, conferences, and other venues in major cities across the United States and in Europe.

At a press conference Monday, Spitzer held a press conference to apologize to his family for violating his obligations to them and his own sense of right and wrong. He said that he has tried to promote "progressive politics" in New York and plans to continue doing so. Spitzer said he would not take questions but he would report back on the situation soon. He said he must now dedicate some time to regaining the trust of his family.

Spitzer has been married for 21 years. He has three daughters, ages 13, 15, and 18.

Though he referred to the matter as private, Spitzer, a first term governor in office for just over a year, broke up prostitution rings in his former role as attorney general. He made a national name for himself during two terms as attorney general by aggressively investigating and exposing corruption on Wall Street.

Spitzer's law enforcement roots extend further back to the early '90's when he worked for the Manhattan District Attorney's Office, investigating organized crime. Just over a week ago, he announced an agreement to make sex trafficking a felony. His press release said that New York is known as a frequent port of entry for human trafficking and sexual exploitation.

"Under the legislation, traffickers who advance or profit from prostitution activity by compelling, inducing, deceiving, or forcing their victims into prostitution activity can be convicted of the class B felony of sex trafficking," the announcement explained.

The law, which Spitzer signed and touted, makes it a Class D felony to knowingly sell travel-related services to facilitate prostitution. In simpler terms, it made a more serious crime out of promoting "prostitution tourism." It also elevated the lowest level of charges related to patronizing a prostitute from a Class B misdemeanor to a more serious a Class A misdemeanor.

"Updating and enhancing our human-trafficking laws to adequately punish the perpetrators of these unspeakable crimes and sufficiently support victims is critically important," he said in the press release.

Update: Governor Spitzer Resigns Citing Personal Failings

Gov. Eliot Spitzer, reeling from revelations that he had been a client of a prostitution ring, announced his resignation today at his headquarters in Manhattan.

Mr. Spitzer’s resignation is to be effective Monday, and Lt. Gov. David A. Paterson is to be sworn in to replace him.

In the two days since news of Mr. Spitzer’s involvement in the prostitution ring surfaced, he has been engaged in an intense legal and family debate about whether to resign or, as aides said his wife was urging, to stay on.

Mr. Spitzer, who had been holed up at his apartment at Fifth Avenue and 79th Street in Manhattan since issuing an apology on Tuesday, emerged at about 11:15 a.m. Wednesday with his wife by his side and got into a black S.U.V., which headed for his headquarters on Third Avenue as news helicopters followed above.

On Tuesday, as Mr. Spitzer, a first-term Democrat, contemplated his next move, the New York political world remained in a suspended state, with cries — even from fellow Democrats — growing louder for him to step down.

In one of the last and desperate rounds of the end game, a top Spitzer administration official reached out to Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver’s staff on Tuesday to see if the governor could avoid an impeachment vote. But the prospects were grim.

Republicans have pledged to try to have Mr. Spitzer impeached and only 34 of the more than 100 Democrats in the Assembly would be needed for the matter to be referred to the Senate for an impeachment trial. It was clear during the discussions that 34 or more Democrats were almost certain to vote against the governor. That outcome would have been a dire for the governor, because his top political rival, Senate majority leader Joseph L. Bruno, leads the Senate, where a trial would have been held.“

An impeachment proceeding would force Democrats to either abandon him or defend him,” said one leading Democrat. “They would abandon him.”

Read the full article

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous1:37 PM
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    "The ugly face of cyber world"
    "Greek Catholic clergy to learn about combating human trafficking"