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Prosecutor Looking into ‘Spitz’ Situation

Posted Aug 2, 2007 11:38 AM CDT
By Martha Neil

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A year ago, Eliot Spitzer was a well-known prosecutor, famous for his aggressive approach to his job as the attorney general of New York. Now the tables have been turned. Spitzer—who took office Jan. 1 as governor of New York after being elected in a landslide on a reform platform—is his being investigated in a possible criminal case over what some are calling a political dirty tricks scandal.

Although an otherwise scathing report last week by Andrew Cuomo, the new state attorney general, concluded that Spitzer aides had broken no laws by misusing state police to investigate Republican Sen. Joseph Bruno in an apparent attempt to discredit the state senate majority leader, an Albany County prosecutor announced yesterday that he is conducting a preliminary review to see if a criminal investigation should be launched against the governor and his staff, reports the New York Times.

As Spitzer—who says he knew nothing of the campaign against Bruno—backpedals and apologizes for his aides' conduct, the scandal has "[p]ushed out of the news ... stories about a federal investigation into Bruno's business dealings," reports the Associated Press. Bruno himself had announced the probe in December, saying he did nothing wrong.

At Bruno's request, reports the New York Post, Albany County District Attorney P. David Soares is now investigating to see whether a new "Spitz" probe should be pursued.

"We are currently gathering relevant information from all involved parties, including the materials that led the attorney general and the inspector general to conclude that no laws were broken," Soares says in a written statement. However, "it must be remembered that while certain conduct may appear unethical or even immoral, the only issue for our consideration is to determine whether the conduct is of such regard that criminal liability can be assessed."

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