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Sources: Spitzer to resign amid talks of plea deal


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Monique Faulkner
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« on: March 12, 2008, 10:50:03 am »

Sources: Spitzer to resign amid talks of plea deal

Story Highlights
NEW: Two sources say Gov. Eliot Spitzer will step down no later than Monday

Source: Spitzer's attorneys, prosecutors discussing possible plea deal

Source close to Spitzer says he'll announce resignation at 11:30 p.m. ET Wednesday

Resignation would make Lt. Gov. David Paterson New York's first black governor


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ALBANY, New York (CNN) -- New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer will resign Wednesday, his aides said, as he faces allegations -- but no charges -- that he is tied to an international prostitution ring ensnared in a federal probe.




Eliot Spitzer built his reputation as a prosecutor of white-collar crime before becoming New York's governor.

 Spitzer's resignation is contingent on the details of his transition being worked out, aides said.

Also, Spitzer's lawyers were in discussions Wednesday with the U.S. attorney's office in New York, trying to negotiate a plea deal to avoid prosecution, a source with knowledge of the discussions said.

Spitzer is scheduled to announce his resignation at 11:30 a.m. ET, a source close to the governor said. Spitzer will make a "brief statement," according to his office. The news conference will be aired on CNN TV and CNN.com Live.

A prominent New York Democrat who has been urging the governor to resign said he has "firm assurances" from Spitzer that he will step aside Wednesday. The assurances came from a member of Spitzer's inner circle, the source told CNN on condition of anonymity.

The source acknowledged there have been indications all week that Spitzer's resignation was imminent.

"But they said the plan is coming together and this would be done," the source said.


Spitzer Sex Scandal
"Anderson Cooper 360" goes inside the alleged prostitution ring.
Tonight, 10 ET

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Under the plan, the transfer of power in Albany would take place "within days but not immediately is my understanding," a prominent state Democratic source said. Two sources close to the governor's office later said Spitzer will step down by Monday.

A top legislative staffer said Tuesday that aides to Spitzer and Lt. Gov. David Paterson had begun planning for a possible transition.  Watch how details of the scandal are emerging on the Web

Spitzer, a former state attorney general whose reputation as a scourge of white-collar crime propelled him to the governor's office in 2006, has faced calls for his resignation since apologizing for a personal indiscretion Monday. He did not elaborate.  See a timeline of Spitzer's life

On Monday, prosecutors unsealed an affidavit detailing a rendezvous in a Washington hotel room last month as part of a federal prostitution investigation. The affidavit refers only to "Client 9," but a source told CNN on Monday that the reference was to Spitzer. Sources said Spitzer spent more than $15,000 for several encounters with prostitutes.  View a gallery of recent political sex scandals

Both Republicans and Democrats were calling for him to leave office Tuesday.

"It is a 'when' question on the resignation, not an 'if.' He knows that," a Democratic source said. "Eliot knows he cannot hold onto his job here. He might want to, but he is absolutely aware of his predicament."

All About Spitzer
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 focus on corruption, white-collar criminals and organized crime.


He was an assistant district attorney in Manhattan in the 1980s and early '90s.


The first-term governor had been considered a rising star in the Democratic Party.
Paterson, 53, would become the first black governor in the state and the fourth in U.S. history. The former state Senate minority leader, who is legally blind, is the son of Basil Paterson, a longtime Democratic operative in New York City.

Though he hasn't been charged with a crime, Spitzer has begun assembling a legal team. He has chosen Michele Hirshman as his lead attorney, said Madelaine Miller, a spokeswoman for Hirshman's law firm, Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison.  Watch Spitzer's apology

Hirshman, who was the first deputy attorney general under Spitzer when he was attorney general, also is a former assistant U.S. attorney who "served as chief of the Public Corruption Unit, where she led major investigations and prosecutions of government fraud and political and police corruption," according to the law firm's Web site.

Spitzer, 48, took office in January 2007 after eight years as the state's attorney general, rising to national prominence. He built his career on rooting out public corruption and became a national figure with a series of high-profile Wall Street investigations. He also prosecuted prostitution rings.  Watch how Wall Street views Spitzer scandal

Spitzer is married with three daughters.

Sources said a federal money-laundering investigation led agents to Spitzer. According to two sources, Spitzer hit the federal radar when a bank reported to the Internal Revenue Service that a significant amount of money had been suspiciously transferred from one account to another.

After receiving the IRS report last year, the FBI corruption squad linked the account transfers to a prostitution ring, according to various sources.

The FBI criminal division joined the inquiry to look into the prostitution ring, while the federal corruption team continued its investigation into Spitzer. Investigators are focusing on how Spitzer paid for the sexual encounters, what he may have done to conceal the movement and source of the money, and whether he broke any laws doing it, sources said.

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Read the criminal complaint regarding ring (PDF)
Paterson would be state's first black governor
Source: Money transfers spurred Spitzer probe
Spitzer made name fighting Wall Street crime
The 47-page affidavit details arrangements for a nearly 2-hour rendezvous between Client 9 and a prostitute -- identified only as "Kristen" -- at a Washington hotel in February.

A source identified the hotel as the Mayflower. Sources said Spitzer rented two rooms, one under the name of a political donor, George Fox. There Spitzer is said to have met with the prostitute from New York.  Watch breakdown of key dates in Spitzer scandal

The affidavit alleges that Client 9 paid for the prostitute to travel from New York to Washington. The Mann Act makes it a federal offense to take someone across state lines for the purpose of prostitution.

The Emperors Club, for which officials said the prostitute worked, 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 released by prosecutors last week.

Authorities learned more about the inner workings of the prostitution ring by using wiretaps and accessing text messages, according to the affidavit. E-mail to a friend

CNN's Kelli Arena, Kevin Bohn, Jason Carroll, Dana Garrett and John King contributed to this report

http://www.cnn.com/2008/POLITICS/03/12/spitzer/index.html
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