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N.Y. governor apologizes after prostitution link


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Spitzer linked to prostitution ring
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March 14: Leno, Letterman, Conan and the rest find the funny in the Eliot Spitzer prostitution ring story.

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Spitzer built his political legacy on rooting out corruption, including several headline-making battles with Wall Street while serving as state attorney general. He stormed into the governor’s office in 2006 with a historic share of the vote, vowing to continue his no-nonsense approach to fixing one of the nation's worst governments.

Time magazine had named him “Crusader of the Year” when he was attorney general, and the tabloids proclaimed him “Eliot Ness.”

His cases as attorney general included criminal prosecutions of prostitution rings and tourism involving prostitutes. In 2004, he was part of an investigation of an escort service in New York City that resulted in the arrests of 18 people on charges of promoting prostitution and related charges.

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MSNBC’s Dan Abrams, a lawyer who is NBC News’ legal affairs correspondent, said that even if he were involved in the prostitution ring, Spitzer might escape prosecution because, in general, cases are rarely brought against customers of prostitutes.

But political analysts of both parties said Spitzer’s carefully constructed reputation as a moralizing crime fighter would make it difficult for him to remain in office or in politics.

His term as governor has been marred by problems, including an unpopular plan to grant driver’s licenses to illegal immigrants and a plot by his aides to smear Spitzer’s main Republican nemesis.

Spitzer had been expected to testify to the state Public Integrity Commission he had created to answer for his role in the scandal in which his aides were accused of misusing state police to compile travel records to embarrass Senate Republican leader Joseph Bruno.

Bruno wouldn’t comment Monday when asked what Spitzer should do. “I feel very badly for the governor’s wife, for his children,” Bruno said. “The important thing for the people of New York state is that people in office do the right thing.”

Robert Windrem of NBC News, Jonathan Dienst of NBC affiliate WNBC in New York and The Associated Press contributed to this report.,


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