New York Governor Eliot Spitzer resigned after being identified by the New York Times as a client of a high-priced call girl operation; New Yorkers now have a governor who openly admits to extra-marital affairs.
All signs are that Spitzer was targeted; the feds were far more interested in bringing down a rising Democratic star than in shutting the doors of the Emperors Club. Investigators had already been wiretapping the sex ring for almost three weeks on January 26, when the FBI staked out the Mayflower Hotel to catch Spitzer in flagrante delicto. But the hooker didn’t show or wasn’t seen by the FBI (although the feds were in the room across the hall, peeking through a cracked door).
When the one month wiretap authorization expired on February 7, the FBI had ample evidence against the Emperors Club, as well as numerous johns. But they still didn’t have anything really humiliating on Spitzer, only the record of him paying thousands of dollars to the prostitution ring.
They renewed the wiretap on February 11, and on February 12 they heard Spitzer on the line, asking for a hooker for the following day. That gave them an opportunity to catch Spitzer on tape dealing with the incriminating minutiae of arranging his tryst.
After Spitzer left room 871, they recorded the booker saying that some girls had complained about him because ‘he would ask you to do things that, like, you might not think were safe,’ which has been repeated ad nauseam through the media, even though it probably means only that he didn’t want to use a condom, making him no different than 99% of the men on the planet.
In order to force Spitzer from office, it was essential to have these salacious details. Johns are very rarely prosecuted, and the Mann Act, aka the ‘White Slave Trade Act,’ enacted in 1910 to prevent forced prostitution, doesn’t apply, as there is no sign that Ashley Dupre was forced.
Once they had Spitzer’s voice on tape asking for Kristen, and the booker’s voice mentioning that he might want to do things that were ‘unsafe,’ the feds quickly wrapped up their investigation and filed charges-but not against Eliot Spitzer. He hasn’t been charged, nor was he named in court documents.
Could prosecutors go after Client # 9 without also prosecuting Clients # 1 through 8? Seems doubtful, and the media has been strangely silent on the identities of the other Johns-with no interest in who else has been implicated in the 5,000 phone calls and 6,000 emails gleaned from the wiretap.
Spitzer was tried in the media, with swift results.
The Times account of how they broke the story is disingenuous at best. After receiving a routine press release about a sex ring on Thursday, March 6, they learned (they say) that the lead prosecutor in the case was the chief of the public corruption unit of the Manhattan U.S. attorney’s office. Because those units look at the conduct of elected officials, the Times became convinced that a public figure was involved.
Further down in their story, they state: ‘By Friday, the Times was confident that the official was Mr. Spitzer.’ They give no clue whatsoever for how they came to that conclusion.
Who leaked the information about Spitzer to the Times? Will we see the Justice Department now rise up like a lion and go in search of the scallywags that are responsible?
Not too likely. According to Harpers.com, the ‘Public Integrity Section at the Department of Justice is now at the center of a major scandal concerning politically directed prosecutions. During the Bush Administration, his Justice Department has opened 5.6 cases against Democrats for every one involving a Republican.’
Let’s be clear what happened here: a man paid for sex. Louisiana Senator David Vitter did the same, but there was no wire-tap, no stake-out, hence no titillating details: he’s still in office.
Senator Larry Craig tried to solicit sex in a men’s bathroom, and was the butt of jokes about his ‘wide stance,’ but he withstood the storm. Still in office.
Senator John McCain was romantically linked with a female lobbyist and improperly used his influence to try to persuade regulators to take positions favorable to her clients. He’s not only still in office, he could be our next president.
Spitzer was a popular attorney general who won an unprecedented 69% of the vote in his race for governor. New Yorkers-indeed all American investors-needed someone to fight for them against the Big Guys. For a while, as Sheriff of Wall Street, Eliot Spitzer was that man. Evidently he angered someone with the power to take him down. We are all the poorer for it.