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Calls for Spitzer's Resignation as Details Emerge

Gov. Eliot Spitzer speaks in New York City with his wife, Silda, after it was reported that he has been involved in a prostitution ring.
Timothy A. Clary
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Getty Images
Gov. Eliot Spitzer speaks in New York City with his wife, Silda, after it was reported that he has been involved in a prostitution ring.
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New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer stayed out of the public eye Tuesday, a day after allegations surfaced that he spent thousands of dollars for a night with a call girl.

But that didn't stop the increasing pressure for the New York governor to step down. Three New York newspapers want him to resign. And a top state Republican is threatening to push for impeachment if Spitzer doesn't leave within 48 hours.

In order for articles of impeachment to get to the floor, there would first have to be support from the Democratic majority in the state Assembly.

The process would then have to gain at least two-thirds approval of the combined vote of the Republican-controlled Senate and the nine-member Court of Appeals to proceed to trial.

Two Democratic officials close to Spitzer say he hasn't decided whether to resign, and that he hasn't set a timetable for a decision.

A law enforcement official told the Associated Press Tuesday that the case grew out of a public corruption inquiry triggered by Spitzer's movement of cash to bank accounts operated by the call-girl ring.

Speaking on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the investigation, the official said that Spitzer was the initial target of the investigation, and that he was tracked using court-ordered wiretaps.

Investigators said the public-corruption unit of the U.S. attorney's office got involved after the IRS looked into a complaint of a potential violation of the Bank Secrecy Act, the government's main tool against money laundering.

The governor could potentially be charged with a crime called "structuring" — meaning that the payments were designed to hide their actual purpose.

After issuing a brief apology Monday, Spitzer made only a vague mention to his future, saying that he "must now dedicate some time to regain the trust of my family." He did not elaborate.

A Spitzer spokesman said that the governor has retained the Manhattan law firm of Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton and Garrison, one of the nation's biggest firms.

Spitzer was allegedly caught on a federal wiretap arranging to meet in a Washington hotel room the night before Valentine's Day with a prostitute from a call-girl business known as the Emperor's Club V.I.P.

The governor has not been charged, and prosecutors would not comment on the case. But he is reportedly identified in an affidavit as Client 9.

Excerpts from the federal complaint that charges four individuals with operating a prostitution ring. The complaint was filed in the Southern District of New York. It is reported that Client-9 is New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer. Temeka Lewis is one of the four defendants. "Kristen" is an Emperors Club prostitute, the document says. QAT, mentioned in section 75, is a bank account customers used for payments.

From NPR reports and the Associated Press.

Copyright 2023 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.