Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Rememberance of Things Past: Welcome to the Clinton Era Redux

Sex scandal threatens key Democrat

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- New York Governor Eliot Spitzer, a key backer of Hillary Clinton and a rising Democrat star who rose to prominence rooting out corruption, was facing calls to resign Tuesday over allegations he paid thousands of dollars to a prostitute.


Elliot Spitzer was a political ally of presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, who sidestepped the scandal.

Spitzer immediately apologized to his family and the people of New York but did not elaborate on the scandal.

At a hastily convened news conference in Albany, the state capital, he confessed Monday to an undisclosed personal indiscretion, saying he had acted "in a way that violates my obligations to my family."

"I have disappointed and failed to live up to the standard I expected of myself," the 48-year-old father of three teenage girls said. "I must now dedicate some time to regain the trust of my family." Video Watch as Spitzer faces calls to quit »

Once seen as a rising star within the Democratic party, Spitzer took office in January 2007 with a landslide victory after serving eight years as the state's attorney general. But the scandal raises questions about whether he will make it through a second year.

"I think there's no question if he is involved -- and I'm not saying he is, because we don't know all the facts -- I would say he'd have to resign," said James Tedisco, the Republican minority leader in the state Assembly.

Tedisco said Spitzer's push to reform government "loses all validity if he was involved in something illegal like that." See a timeline of his life »

The Republican Governors Association called on Spitzer to resign to "allow the people of New York to pursue honest leadership."

"The American people are tired of corrupt and hypocritical politicians. The governor of New York is just another in the long list of politicians that have failed their constituents," said Nick Ayers, executive director of the Governors Association.

U.S. presidential candidate Hillary Clinton sidestepped questions about the sex scandal threatening her home state governor and political ally.

"I don't have any comment on that," she said when asked about the allegations. "Obviously, I am sending my best wishes and thoughts to the governor and to his family," Clinton said.

The allegations, revealed Monday in The New York Times, were outlined in federal court papers detailing a meeting in a Washington hotel room last month between a prostitute and a client who a source told CNN was Spitzer.

The affidavit does not mention Spitzer by name, but a source with knowledge of the case said the subject identified as Client-9 is the governor. He has not been charged.

His alleged involvement with the ring was caught on a federal wiretap, the source said.

The prostitute, identified only as "Kristen" worked for the Emperors Club, which charged between $1,000 and $5,500 an hour and operated in New York; Los Angeles, California; Miami, Florida; London, England; and Paris, France, according to court papers.

According to the affidavit, defendant Temeka Rachelle Lewis -- who is accused of working as a booking agent for the club -- wrote a text message Monday, February 11, asking the operation's day-to-day organizer to "pls let me know if (Client-9's) 'package' arrives 2mrw. Appt wd be on Wed." Prosecutors say the message was a reference to a deposit.

On Tuesday, according to the affidavit, Lewis sent a message to Kristen, saying Client-9's deposit had not arrived but she should be able to "do the trip" if it arrived the next day. View a gallery of recent political sex scandals »

Spitzer facts

• Time magazine names Spitzer "Crusader of the Year" during his two terms as New York attorney general.

• Tabloids label him "Eliot Ness," because of his reputation for rooting out corruption, busting white-collar criminals and tackling organized crime.

• Spitzer is known for prosecuting several prostitution rings.

• He attended Princeton and Harvard, then became an assistant district attorney in Manhattan.

• He worked for three New York law firms and decided to run in his mid-30s for attorney general.

• The first-term Democrat had been considered a rising star in his party.

• Spitzer is married and has three daughters.

In a later conversation, Lewis and Kristen discussed when the prostitute could take a train from New York's Penn Station to Washington's Union Station, the affidavit says. Client-9 would be "paying for everything -- train tickets, cab fare from the hotel and back, mini bar or room service, travel time, and hotel."

The affidavit says that, about 5 p.m. Tuesday, February 12, Lewis spoke with Client-9 on the telephone and told him that his "package arrived today." The client asked Lewis whom he would be meeting and, when told it was Kristen, said, "Great, OK, wonderful."

The two discussed how the woman would get a key to his room for a Wednesday rendezvous and how they could arrange credit for future services.

"Client-9 asked Lewis to remind him what Kristen looked like and Lewis said that she was an American, petite, very pretty brunette, 5 feet 5 inches and 105 pounds," the affidavit reads.

In a call to Lewis, Client-9 was told the balance would be $2,712.41, but Lewis suggested he give Kristen $1,500 or $2,000 more so that he would have a credit.

According to the affidavit, Kristen called Lewis about 9:32 p.m. Wednesday, February 13, and told her she was in Client-9's room -- No. 871 -- at the Washington hotel.

Four minutes later, Client-9 was in the hotel, Lewis told Kristen in another call.

No more calls were logged until 12:02 a.m. Thursday -- Valentine's Day -- nearly 2½ hours later. At that time, Kristen told Lewis Client-9 had left and she had collected $4,300.

Lewis told the prostitute she'd been told that Client-9 "would ask you to do things that, like, you might not think are safe -- you know -- I mean that ... very basic things," the affidavit says.

Spitzer, who built his career on rooting out public corruption as New York attorney general, became a national figure with a series of high-profile Wall Street investigations. He is also known for prosecuting prostitution rings. Read Todd Benjamin's blog.
People who know Spitzer, 48, were surprised by the allegations. "To say this is a shock is an understatement," said CNN senior legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin, who went to law school with Spitzer.

Original article posted here.


The Freewheeling Socrates said...

First impression: Why are we hearing about this in all news media outlets when the mega-crimes of the Clinton and Bush gangs have been hidden?

A man is not a stick of wood.

Everyone needs sexual release.

He doesn't want his wife anymore and he has money to burn on prosti-bunnies.

It's OK.

This guy is being tarred, feathered, and urged to hit the road.

I think he should give the finger to everyone at his next appearance, refuse to resign, and proclaim this as evidence he doesn't go for men or little boys.

The Freewheeling Socrates said...

Also, talking heads are calling him a hypocrite. But so what? We are all hypocrites. BFD

He ought to say he crusaded for that which he perceived to be right but isn't personally strong enough to avoid guilty pleasures.

He stays, the smut recedes with the passage of time, and it's back to business as usual.

Da Weaz said...

Morally, I don't find it so objectionable.

Politically, I find it pretty stupid.

And while he is free to give everyone the middle finger salute, the media will obsess on it because to focus on the real issues facing the nation reveal the unpleasant truth that this nation is far from a democracy.

And he will be (or can be) charged for crimes, so legally he has placed himself in jeopardy.

And the fact that it is coming out that he's been whoremongering for ten years really doesn't suggest that this is "a sexual release", but a part of his lifestyle.

Maybe he should just get that divorce . . .