Spitzer Quits But Other Public Figure May Be Linked to Escort Ring
Spitzer Resigns: 'I Cannot Allow My Private Failings to Disrupt the People's Work'
By BRIAN ROSS
March 12, 2008—
At least one other New York public figure is involved in the prostitution ring investigation that brought down New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer, according to lawyers in the case.
And today British newspapers reported that one of England's wealthiest men, Duke of Westminster, had been a client of the now-infamous Emperor's Club last year, although not involved in the New York investigation.
Despite two days of negotiations, Spitzer, with his wife by his side and top lawyer Ted Wells in the wings, resigned today without a deal with federal prosecutors.
In fact, following his resignation, the U.S. attorney's office released a statement saying, "There is no agreement between this Office and Governor Eliot Spitzer, relating to his resignation or any other matter."
Lawyers in the case say the whole matter will soon be before a grand jury.
"There are some very frantic girls running around about their exposure in the light of the identity of Client No. 9," Kathleen Mullins, an attorney for one of the girls mentioned in the criminal complaint against Emperor's Club, told ABC News. "And I think, by the way, there are frantic men running around, Client 1 through 8 and thereafter, who are also running around."
Just 48 hours after he was linked to the investigation into the Emperor's Club, Spitzer resigned from office.
"Over the course of my public life, I have insisted, I believe correctly, that people, regardless of their position or power, take responsibility for their conduct," Spitzer said. "I can and will ask no less of myself. For this reason, I am resigning from the office of governor."
"I am deeply sorry that I did not live up to what was expected of me...I look at my time as governor with a sense of what might have been," Spitzer said, apologizing for the second time this week. "There is much more to be done, and I cannot allow my private failings to disrupt the people's work."
"The remorse I feel will always be with me," he added. "I hope all of New York will join my prayers for my friend, David Paterson, as he embarks on his new mission."
At the request of New York Lt. Gov. David Paterson, Spitzer's resignation will take effect Monday, March 17, he said. He and his wife took no questions after his statement.
Lt. Gov. Paterson had told New York officials earlier that Spitzer would resign. The resignation letter, which had been drafted yesterday, is expected to be submitted to the New York secretary of state, according to officials involved in the process.
Lt. Gov. Paterson will be sworn in as governor Monday before a joint session of the New York state legislature, becoming the first African-American to hold that post in New York. It is expected that cabinet-level and other senior officials of the Spitzer administration will retain their current posts through the completion of the New York state budget process, which is ongoing.
"As an elected official the Governor has worked hard for the people of New York," Lt. Gov. Paterson said in a statement released shortly after Spitzer's press conference. "It is now time for Albany to get back to work as the people of this state expect from us," he added.
It is an astounding fall from power for the former take-no-prisoners prosecutor, who had prosecuted other prostitution rings.
"I have acted in a way that violates my obligations to my family and violates my, or any, sense of right and wrong," Spitzer said Monday with his wife by his side, just hours after news broke of his involvement with the ring.
Federal investigators say Spitzer, as governor, had been a regular customer of a prostitution business known as the Emperor's Club.
According to an FBI affidavit, Client 9, identified by authorities as Spitzer, arranged for a prostitute named "Kristen" to travel from New York to Washington, D.C. She met Spitzer, who had registered under the pseudonym George Fox, in Room 871 of the Mayflower Hotel, collecting $4,300 in cash from Spitzer.
In a phone call secretly recorded by the FBI, Kristen later told her boss in New York about the event, dismissing concerns that Spitzer might demand "unsafe things."
Federal authorities say the investigation began last October when the IRS received a report from a bank about suspicious activity connected to an account controlled by Spitzer.
Initially believing the activity could involve bribes, the Justice Department asked the FBI's public corruption squad to join the investigation.
It was only later, authorities say, that federal agents learned Spitzer had been moving the money to pay for the prostitutes. They say his movement of "tens of thousands of dollars" to pay for sex with call girls from the Emperor's Club may have violated federal money laundering laws.
Ironically, the financial crimes he may be charged with are some of the same crimes he prosecuted as New York's attorney general in his meteoric rise to prominence