Federal prosecutors said Thursday that they will not bring criminal charges against Eliot Spitzer for his role in a prostitution scandal, removing a legal cloud that has surrounded the former New York governor since his epic downfall eight months ago.
U.S. Attorney Michael Garcia said investigators found no evidence that Spitzer or his office misused public or campaign funds for prostitution. Investigators found that Spitzer solicited high-priced call girls, but federal prosecutors typically do not prosecute clients of prostitution rings.
"In light of the policy of the Department of Justice with respect to prostitution offenses and the longstanding practice of this Office, as well as Mr. Spitzer's acceptance of responsibility for his conduct, we have concluded that the public interest would not be further advanced by filing criminal charges in this matter," Garcia said in a statement.
A remorseful Spitzer issued a statement in which he expressed relief that he will not face charges.
"I appreciate the impartiality and thoroughness of the investigation by the U.S. Attorney's Office, and I acknowledge and accept responsibility for the conduct it disclosed," he said. "I resigned my position as Governor because I recognized that conduct was unworthy of an elected official. I once again apologize for my actions."
Spitzer was out of town and unavailable for further comment.
Spitzer resigned in March after it was disclosed he was referred to in court papers as "Client-9," who spent thousands of dollars on a call girl at a swanky Washington, D.C., hotel on the night before Valentine's Day.
Garcia said that Spitzer later revealed to investigators that on multiple occasions he arranged for women to travel from one state to another state to engage in prostitution.
Federal law makes it a crime to induce someone to cross state lines for immoral purposes.
Attorney blasts decision
Four people pleaded guilty in recent months to running the prostitution operation that led to Spitzer's political demise.
Michael C. Farkas, the lawyer one of the escort service's booking agents, blasted the decision not to prosecute Spitzer. His client, 36-year-old Tanya Hollander, pleaded guilty and admitted to helping run the ring, and is scheduled to be sentenced this month.
"She still faces a jail sentence, while some other more infamous actors in this matter do not. It would be a sad injustice if that were to occur," Farkas said.
The scandal ruined a promising political career for Spitzer, who won a landslide election in 2006 with a vow to clean up corruption. He has stayed out of the spotlight since his resignation, spending time with his wife and three daughters, working for his father's real estate business and occasionally being photographed running in Central Park.