N.Y. Governor Said to Be Involved in Prostitution Ring
Posted Mar 10, 2008 1:17 PM CDT
By Debra Cassens Weiss
Updated: New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer made a statement today acknowledging that he had violated his obligations to his family without saying specifically whether he was associated with an alleged high-priced prostitution ring known as Emperors Club VIP.
A wiretap had captured Spitzer arranging to meet a woman employed by the club, and Spitzer had admitted to senior administration officials that he was involved in a prostitution ring, the New York Times reported in a story it broke today.
Speaking with his wife at his side, Spitzer apologized both to his family and the public. He did not take any questions from reporters and did not say whether he would remain in office.
When Spitzer was the state’s attorney general, he had a reputation as a tough prosecutor who went after Wall Street corruption. He prosecuted at least two prostitution rings when he headed the state's organized crime task force, the Times story says.
The New York Sun foreshadowed the development in an article published early today. The paper said the prosecution of Emperors Club VIP was being handled by members of the Manhattan U.S. attorney's office specializing in government corruption cases, suggesting that a public official was involved.
All three prosecutors in the case are members of the U.S. attorney's public corruption unit, the Sun article says. One is the bureau's chief, Boyd Johnson III.
A press release (PDF) issued last week said four managers of the club had been charged with conspiracy to violate prostitution laws and money laundering. The club's prostitutes were given rankings from one to seven diamonds and charged $1,000 to $5,000, the indictment alleges.
The complaint (PDF posted by the New York Times) says prosecutors have several e-mails and wiretapped calls as evidence in the case against the ring. A person briefed on the investigation told the Times that Spitzer is the person identified as "Client 9" in the document.
Updated at 2:16 p.m. to include Spitzer's statement, at 2:21 p.m. to include New York Times information on the wiretap, at 2:34 p.m. to rewrite the post, and at 2:44 p.m. to include a link to the complaint.