Spitzer Apologizes After Prostitution Case Surfaces

New York Governor Eliot Spitzer holds a news conference in New York City with his wife, Silda. i i

New York Governor Eliot Spitzer holds a news conference in New York City with his wife, Silda, by his side after it was announced that he has been involved in a prostitution ring. Timothy A. Clary/AFP/Getty Images hide caption

itoggle caption Timothy A. Clary/AFP/Getty Images
New York Governor Eliot Spitzer holds a news conference in New York City with his wife, Silda.

New York Governor Eliot Spitzer holds a news conference in New York City with his wife, Silda, by his side after it was announced that he has been involved in a prostitution ring.

Timothy A. Clary/AFP/Getty Images


Eliot Spitzer


Age: 48. Born New York City.

Family: Married to Silda Wall Spitzer, a Harvard Law School graduate and lawyer in the nonprofit sector. The couple has three daughters, ages 17, 15 and 13.

Education: Princeton University, 1981; Harvard Law School, 1984.

Experience: Law clerk for U.S. District Judge Robert Sweet, 1984-85; private law practice, 1985-86; assistant district attorney in Manhattan, 1986-92; chief of labor racketeering unit of Manhattan district attorney's office, 1991-92; private law practice, 1992-1998; attorney general, 1999-2006; governor, 2007-present.

As Governor: Elected with a historic 69 percent of the vote. Agenda stalled amid political scandal and polls that showed most New Yorkers would not vote for him again as governor. (Two aides disciplined for using state police to track the movements of a Spitzer political rival).

Pushed through moderate reforms on the budget, ethics and workers compensation. A signature effort, campaign finance, languished.

— Source: The Associated Press

New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer has allegedly been caught on a federal wiretap arranging to meet with a high-priced prostitute. Last week, prosecutors charged four people with running a prostitution ring; Spitzer was reportedly one of its clients at a Washington, D.C., hotel last month.

To the public, Spitzer, a Democrat, is known as an upright, crusading politician who built his career on rooting out corruption. But in an affidavit disclosed Monday he is identified simply as "Client 9," allegedly part of a prostitution ring that stretched from Los Angeles to Paris.

Spitzer'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.

After news of the allegations first broke Monday afternoon, it took political opponents only minutes to call for Spitzer's resignation. But the first-term governor, in a hastily called appearance at his Manhattan office, said nothing about his political future.

Speaking about what he termed a "private matter," Spitzer said he "acted in a way that violates my obligations to my family and violates my — or any — sense of right and wrong." With his wife, Silda, at his side, Spitzer added, "I apologize first and most importantly to my family. I apologize to the public, whom I promised better."

Spitzer, 48, built his political reputation fighting corruption, including several high-profile scuffles with Wall Street while serving as attorney general. In 2004, he helped lead 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.

Time magazine named him "Crusader of the Year" when he was attorney general and the tabloids proclaimed him "Eliot Ness," after the "Untouchables" Mob-buster of the 1930s.

The alleged prostitution ring, identified in court papers as the Emperors Club VIP, arranged meetings between wealthy men and more than 50 prostitutes in New York, Washington, D.C., Los Angeles, Miami, London and Paris, prosecutors said.

"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."

If Spitzer were to resign, he would be succeeded by Lt. Gov. David Paterson, also a Democrat.

Transcript of Spitzer's statement:

"Good afternoon.
"For the past nine years, eight years as attorney general, and one as governor, I have tried to uphold a vision of progressive politics that would rebuild New York and create opportunity for all. We sought to bring real change to New York and that will continue.
"Today I want to briefly address a private matter. I have acted in a way that violates my obligations to my family and violates my, or any, sense of right and wrong. I apologize first and most importantly to my family. I apologize to the public, whom I promised better.
"I do not believe that politics in the long run is about individuals. It is about ideas, the public good, and doing what is best for the state of New York. But 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.
"I will not be taking questions. Thank you very much. I will report back to you in short order. Thank you very much."

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