Spitzer Resignation Watch: Aides Say NY Gov Will Step Down

Spitzer Resignation Watch: Aides Say NY Gov Will Step Down

** UPDATED: 2:00 PM ET **

Aides Divided On Spitzer Resignation: "Top aides to Gov. Eliot Spitzer said Tuesday morning that they expect the governor to resign his office, although the timing of the resignation remains uncertain," the New York Times reports.

After a report that Gov. Eliot Spitzer had patronized a prostitution ring, officials in Albany greeted the news with shock, and some on Wall Street, a frequent target of his investigations as attorney general, were unsympathetic.

But not so fast, the New York Sun reports. "A top aide to Governor Spitzer said today Mr. Spitzer has not made up his mind about whether to step down from office despite mounting calls for his resignation."

"He has not made up his mind," a senior adviser to Mr. Spitzer, Lloyd Constantine, said. "It is more correct to say that he is not resigning."

The assessment of the governor's frame of mind by one of his closest associates conflicted with the general consensus in Albany, which is bracing for the downfall of New York's top Democrat and the assumption of power by the state's first African-American governor, David Paterson, who is in Albany.

A spokeswoman for the governor said Mr. Spitzer, who is secluded today with his family in his Upper East Side home, said he hadn't informed his staff of his decision.

Slipping Security: The New York State Police are conducting an internal investigation into how Gov. Spitzer was able to slip away from his security detail while traveling. ABC News reports:

In New York state, even as cabinet-level officials began to prepare an orderly transition by briefing Lt. Gov. David Paterson on key details of their components of the government in anticipation of Gov. Eliot Spitzer stepping down, criminal justice officials launched a preliminary inquiry into how the disgraced governor slipped his security detail while traveling, state sources told ABC News.

ABC News has learned that Spitzer routinely tried to push off the one or two state police officers who accompanied him out of town, suggesting to the troopers that they didn't need to accompany him as he went to the gym or telling them he was going to turn in early.

Currently, senior officials have asked the New York State Police to take a hard look to determine what, if anything, members of the security detail could or should have known. So far, it does not appear those troopers "looked the other way" and turned a blind eye to the governor's alleged trysts.

Report: Spitzer Met With Call Girls 7 Or 8 Times: "Spitzer had at least seven or eight liaisons over the last several years with prostitutes supplied by an international call girl ring based in New Jersey, according to sources familiar with the investigation into Spitzer's relationship with the ring," Newsday reports. "The liaisons between Spitzer and a number of different prostitutes occurred around the country, including in Washington, D.C., and Florida, the sources said. For each encounter, Spitzer paid several thousand dollars, the sources said."

NY GOP Threatens Impeachment: New York Republicans will "seek to impeach Gov. Eliot Spitzer if he does not resign within 48 hours," a spokesman for the leading state GOP assemblyman tells Reuters.

Spitzer Weighing Resignation: "Spitzer continued to weigh whether to resign early Tuesday, a day after law enforcement officials said he was a client of a high-end prostitution ring broken up last week by federal authorities," the NYT reported early Tuesday.

After a report that Gov. Eliot Spitzer had patronized a prostitution ring, officials in Albany greeted the news with shock, and some on Wall Street, a frequent target of his investigations as attorney general, were unsympathetic.

Mr. Spitzer received counsel from his advisers late Monday at his Fifth Avenue apartment, and had not emerged as of early Tuesday morning. A top administration official said Tuesday morning that no announcement had been scheduled. ...

Mr. Spitzer's family and his top assistants debated Monday morning at Mr. Spitzer's apartment about whether he should step down, a person who spoke to the governor said. Silda Wall Spitzer, who was among them, told her husband that he should not resign in haste; as did Lloyd Constantine, a senior adviser and a longtime friend of the governor. But most of his others saw no way for him to survive.

WNBC's Jay Dedapper reports that "multiple New York Democratic Senate and Assembly sources say Eliot Spitzer WILL resign soon, certainly by the end of the week. They say a transition team is already in the process of being assembled, and several judges have been approached about presiding over a swearing-in ceremony. The sources say Spitzer has been urged to step down "for the good of the party."

Dedapper also notes how the succession might occur: Spitzer can resign and Lt. Gov. David Paterson then has the option of agreeing to be sworn in as governor. There would be no special election and no replacement for lieutenant governor -- instead Spitzer's archrival, GOP Senate Majority Leader Joe Bruno, becomes acting lieutenant governor (and remains Senate majority leader).

Sources say a resignation could be linked to an agreement with federal prosecutors in which Spitzer "would step down and avoid criminal charges."

Top aides to Lt. Gov. David Paterson "were already preparing for a transition last night" and "several judges have been approached about presiding over a swearing-in."

Spitzer In Legal Limbo: "Mr. Spitzer has not been charged with a crime," the NYT notes. "But one law enforcement official who has been briefed on the case said that Mr. Spitzer's lawyers would probably meet soon with federal prosecutors to discuss any possible legal exposure. The official said the discussions were likely to focus not on prostitution, but on how it was paid for: Whether the payments from Mr. Spitzer to the service were made in a way to conceal their purpose and source. That could amount to a crime called structuring, which carries a penalty of up to five years in prison."

ABC News reports that it wasn't sex, but suspicious money transfers that triggered the federal investigation into a New York prostitution ring linked to Gov. Eliot Spitzer. The feds initially thought Spitzer might have been hiding bribes:

It was only months later that the IRS and the FBI determined that Spitzer wasn't hiding bribes but payments to a company called QAT, what prosecutors say is a prostitution operation operating under the name of the Emperors Club.

The suspicious financial activity was initially reported by a bank to the IRS which, under direction from the Justice Department, brought kin the FBI's Public Corruption Squad.

"We had no interest at all in the prostitution ring until the thing with Spitzer led us to learn about it," said one Justice Department official.

Will Giuliani, Bloomberg Run For Gov? "Mayor Bloomberg has long denied wanting to run for governor, but the job may be looking a little enticing if Gov. Spitzer resigns in his pay-for-sex scandal," the NY Daily News notes.

A Quinnipiac poll of city voters last month found that 70% said Bloomberg would make a good governor.

Bloomberg's friends are even more enthusiastic, talking him up as a political savior who could sweep into Albany in 2010, the year after his term as mayor ends.

Also, a Rudy For Governor 2010 Facebook site has already been created.

Hillary Clinton In A Bind: NBC's First Read notes: "The Spitzer story is something that is simply shocking. But like the other recent sex scandals -- Vitter's and Craig's -- this one is likely to have very little national effect, unless Spitzer decides to stay in office. Assuming a fairly quick resignation, this will fade into being only a fascinating New York City/Albany story with a new star being born, Lt. Gov. David Paterson, who would become governor. The trouble only starts if Spitzer won't go, then he risks having prominent New Yorkers like Hillary Clinton being forced to call for his resignation and putting him an even more precarious position. By the way, for those wondering, Spitzer is a superdelegate, as is Paterson. Both have endorsed Clinton."

Spitzer Hires Lawyer, Calling Key NY Dems: WNBC's Jonathan Dienst reports on MSNBC: "We are hearing that the governor has basically taken a two-track [response]. One, with prosecutors, he's trying to see if he goes, will he not be charged, and that's why he's now hired an attorney apparently with Paul-Weiss, the major firm here in New York. The other thing we're hearing is that, this afternoon...that he was making calls to various key Democrats across the state to see if he could survive this. Some aides maybe were talking about possibly conducting some polls. Too soon to know if he will stick this out."


-- Comprehensive details about first day fallout, including reaction from Clinton and Obama
-- All about the Emperor's Club VIP
-- Read text messages between Spitzer and prostitute

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