Spitzer resigns

Standard

Hat Tip: New York Times, By DANNY HAKIM and ANAHAD O’CONNOR

Gov. Eliot Spitzer, reeling from revelations that he had been a client of a prostitution ring, announced his resignation today, becoming the first governor of New York to be forced from office in nearly a century.

Mr. Spitzer, appearing somber and with his wife at his side, said his resignation is to be effective Monday, and that Lt. Gov. David A. Paterson would be sworn in to replace him.

David Paterson

“I am deeply sorry that I did not live up to what was expected of me,” he said. “To every New Yorker, and to all those who believed in what I tried to stand for, I sincerely apologize.”

“Over the course of my public life, I have insisted — I believe correctly — that people regardless of their position or power take responsibility for their conduct,” he added. “I can and will ask no less of myself. For this reason, I am resigning from the office of governor.”

Mr. Spitzer is the first governor of New York to resign from office since 1973, when Nelson A. Rockefeller stepped down to devote himself to a policy group, and the first to be forced from office since William Sulzer was impeached and removed from his post in 1913 in a scandal over campaign contribution fraud.

In his brief statement at his headquarters in Manhattan, Mr. Spitzer thanked his family for offering support and compassion, and said he had spent the last several days atoning for his personal failings.

Mr. Spitzer ended his speech by saying he would leave politics, and then departed quickly without taking questions.

“As I leave public life, I will first do what I need to do to help and heal myself and my family,” he said. “Then I will try once again, outside of politics, to serve the common good and to move toward the ideals and solutions which I believe can build a future of hope and opportunity for us and for our children.”

Since issuing an initial apology on Monday, Mr. Spitzer had been holed up at his apartment at Fifth Avenue and 79th Street in Manhattan, where his aides said he had been engaged in an intense legal and family debate about whether to resign or, as his wife was urging, to stay on.

Mr. Spitzer emerged finally at about 11:15 a.m. Wednesday with his wife by his side and got into a black S.U.V., which headed for his headquarters on Third Avenue as news helicopters followed above.

On Tuesday, as Mr. Spitzer, a first-term Democrat, contemplated his next move, the New York political world remained in a suspended state, with cries — even from fellow Democrats — growing louder for him to step down.

In one of the last and desperate rounds of the end game, a top Spitzer administration official reached out to Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver’s staff on Tuesday to see if the governor could avoid an impeachment vote. But the prospects were grim.

Republicans had pledged to try to have Mr. Spitzer impeached and only 34 of the more than 100 Democrats in the Assembly would be needed for the matter to be referred to the Senate for an impeachment trial. It was clear during the discussions that 34 or more Democrats were almost certain to vote against the governor.

That outcome would have been a dire for the governor, because his top political rival, Senate majority leader Joseph L. Bruno, leads the Senate, where a trial would have been held.

“An impeachment proceeding would force Democrats to either abandon him or defend him,” said one leading Democrat. “They would abandon him.”

Sheldon Silver, the Assembly speaker, said Tuesday that Mr. Spitzer should do “what’s best for his family,” but stopped short of calling on the governor to step down. “It is now up to the governor to make a determination that’s best for his family. I pray for his children.” When asked what Mr. Silver thought was best for the Spitzer family, he did not respond.

Mr. Silver offered a few details of his conversation with Mr. Spitzer on Tuesday afternoon before the governor briefly spoke to the public. “I said to him then and I say it now, he’s got to take care of his family first and be concerned about them. I told him that we will carry on in the legislative process that moves the budget forward. We intend to pass our budget tomorrow. I hope the Senate will do the same.”

Mr. Paterson said on Tuesday that he had not heard from Mr. Spitzer since about noon on Monday, and did not know whether he would soon be sworn in as the state’s 55th governor.

“The governor called me yesterday,” said Mr. Paterson, who was driven to the Capitol on Tuesday and pondered going inside before deciding to avoid the swarm of journalists. “He said he didn’t resign for a number of reasons, and he didn’t go into the reasons, and that’s the last I’ve heard from him.”

Asked whether preparations for a transition were under way, the lieutenant governor said: “No one has talked to me about his resignation, and no one has talked to me about a transition.”

At a televised news conference on Wednesday morning, Mr. Bruno, the Senate majority leader who would become the lieutenant governor if Mr. Paterson replaces Mr. Spitzer, told reporters that he had not spoken with Mr. Spitzer or any of his top aides about the impending resignation.

“No one has contacted me officially,” he said. “We are following the reports as you are. But in the meantime, I am staying with our plan to pass a budget, talk to the speaker, and we’re going to go public in a real way on Monday.”

Mr. Bruno, a Republican who clashed frequently with Mr. Spitzer, said he was praying for the governor and his family and urged all New Yorkers to do so as well.

On Tuesday, Mr. Spitzer cut himself off from all but the most senior members of his staff. His lawyer, Michele Hirschman, was reaching out to federal prosecutors to try to strike a deal in hopes of avoiding charges.

Close aides to the governor suggested on Tuesday that the mood in the Spitzer home was tense, with the governor’s wife, Silda Wall Spitzer, recommending that he not step down, but they cautioned that the situation could change at any time.

The revelation of Mr. Spitzer’s involvement with the high-end prostitution ring gripped the nation, and more than 70 reporters and photographers clustered outside the governor’s Upper East Side high-rise on Tuesday, separated from the building by a metal barricade erected by the police.

Three helicopters whirred overhead as tourists atop passing double-decker buses snapped pictures of the scene.

Mr. Spitzer’s patronage of the prostitution agency, Emperor’s Club V.I.P., came to light after prosecutors charged four people with operating the service. They said the governor was intercepted on a federal wiretap arranging payments and an encounter with a prostitute in a Washington hotel room last month. The affidavit referred to a Client 9 and did not identify Mr. Spitzer by name, but law enforcement officials said that Client 9 was the governor.

Investigators reviewing the scope of Mr. Spitzer’s involvement with prostitutes said on Tuesday that just in the past year he had had more than a half-dozen meetings with them and had paid tens of thousands of dollars to the ring, one law enforcement official said.

A person with knowledge of the service’s operations said that Mr. Spitzer had begun meeting with the prostitutes of the Emperor’s Club about eight months ago and had had encounters in Dallas as well as Washington.

A law enforcement official said Mr. Spitzer also had an encounter with a prostitute in Florida. On some trips of several days’ duration, Mr. Spitzer scheduled more than one visit with a prostitute, this person said.

17 thoughts on “Spitzer resigns

  1. Ready.

    Aim…

    Sling under the Bus – One Democratic Governor from the Empire State for soliciting hookers at nouveau riche prices…

    I think he should stick around, but it looks like he’s going to do what’s best for the Party. I like the classy way Patterson’s waiting to have the job handed to him rather than calling for dude to step down. But Patterson’s first act should be to make that “Law & Order” call and set standards to restore the public trust – and tell Hillary to put that superdelegate thingy on hold until she apologizes for the racist campaign she’s operated, even if he doesn’t support Obama (he doesn’t have to) but it would set the tone that he’s a brotha that won’t be discounted, the way she’s discounted 35 million of us lately.

    His first act as Governor is to tell Hillary to fire Ferraro from her campaign before he sends that delegate vote to Obama as payback.

  2. The Impartial Marshall

    Damn talk about inflation…Price has gone from 1.45 a gallon to almost 4.00 ad now we hear that a hoe has gone from $500 to 4,500…We really need a change in our country so we can get everything back tom the way it was before Bush took us for a ride.

  3. Denise, girl don’t get me started on Kwame Kilpatrick.

    He is a “N—ER” in every sense of the word, which applies to the truly ignorant.

    He should STHU and go take down that stripper’s pole he got hanging in the Mayoral Mansion, while we women send Carlita her GMTG (Get That Money, Girl) kit to use on him.

    Detroit’s drinking something – how can they continue to give this guy standing ovations for being corrupt?

    If his parents weren’t who they were, I would think he’s the spawn of former S.F. Mayor Willie Brown. Slicker than an eel in an oil slick, was Da Mayor, and the only reason he didn’t get caught in corruption is that he never left trails of any kind (email, fax, handwritten notes or telephone calls), and what was legal but immoral about him, he voluntarily put it on Front Street.

    His opponents couldn’t do jack with him, either.

  4. Rick

    I don’t care whether he’s a democrat or a republican. right is right and wrong is wrong.

    Good #@ riddance…

    Sincerely,
    A constituent

  5. Rick

    Geraldine Ferraro latest casalty on cast of “The Departed — Democratic Party Remix Version”

    http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20080312/ts_nm/usa_politics_ferraro_departure_dc

    I once again turn to Wu-Tang for the sound track to this week’s unending horror show. Here is the track to the scene where Geraldine gets taken out.

    Artist: Wu-Tang Clan
    Album: Enter the Wu-Tang
    Released: November 9, 1993
    Label: RCA
    Song: Clan in da Front

    [Verse One – Excerpt:]

    The Wu is comin thru, the outcome is critical
    F*_n wit my style, is sort of like a Miracle
    on 34th Street, in the Square of Herald
    I gamed Ella, the [censored] caught a Fitz like Gerald —
    — ine Ferraro, who’s full of sorrow
    Cuz the [censored] didn’t win but the sun will still come out tomorrow
    and shine shine shine like gold mine
    Here comes the drunk monk, with a quart of Ballentine
    ———–

    Another idiot bites the dust…and once again…GOOD RIDDANCE!!!

  6. TPJ, I didn’t even follow CA politics that much and always had that feeling about Willie Brown.

    Denise, I knew I could depend on you to bring the news to us.

    SB, Kwame has to go. His thieving, cheating, lyin’, trifling Negro behind MUST GO.

  7. Denise, you never fail to drop the knowledge, LOL.

    Rikyrah, I worked for Willie Brown – I spent five years in the City and County of San Francisco before I moved to DC and saw his corruption up close and personal.

    You might say I did two tours with the CCSF – one when I was asked to give approval on a contract worth 60 million dollars on a construction project at San Fran International Airport. I couldn’t do it because I couldn’t verify compliance and the contractor wouldn’t turn over his bank records.

    What I wasn’t told was that the contractor was a friend of Willie’s and the equivalent of a Bush “Ranger” in terms of fund-raising. So, when I didn’t do what I was told, I was “laid-off”.

    I came back three years later, to another job, and I stayed out of Willie’s way until his term was up. It was nice to see Gavin Newsome clean house of all of Willie’s cronies in City Hall.

    Newsome gets a bad rap – and I wish he’d challenge Feinstein for her Senate seat, just to get the female version of Joe Lieberman the hell out of the Senate.

  8. Rick

    OT: came across this quote today

    “The power of accurate observation is commonly called cynicism by those who have not got it.”
    –George Bernard Shaw,
    Nobel laureate in literature

    thanks Skeptical Brotha for keepin it real…

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