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Spitzer Linked To Prostitution Ring by Wiretap

New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer apologized to his family and the public Monday, but did not elaborate on the reported links to a prostitution ring.Video courtesy of MSNBC

The charge sheet for the four provided details about clients soliciting women. They included an unidentified "Client-9," who called Lewis to say that he had sent a package, believed to be a monetary deposit, and wanted to have a prostitute named "Kristen" take the train from New York's Pennsylvania Station to Union Station in Washington on Feb. 13 and meet him in Room 871 of a hotel in the District.

A source familiar with the investigation, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said Client 9 was Spitzer.

On Sunday, Spitzer reportedly told his staff that he had been implicated in the prostitution ring, the New York Times reported on its Web site.

The Washington hotel was later identified as the Mayflower, and by evening, tourists were already snapping pictures of the city's latest iconoclastic monument to scandal.

According to the details in the charge sheet, Client 9 appeared to be a regular user of the Emperors Club VIP services. When Lewis, awaiting the deposit, asked whether the client had used the correct mailing name, Client 9 replied, "Yup, same as in the past, no question about it."

When the client asked which woman would be coming to Washington, Lewis told him it was Kristen, and Client 9 expressed some evidence of familiarity, saying, "Great, okay, wonderful." He later asked Lewis to remind him what Kristen looked like, and was told she was a petite, pretty brunette, 5 feet 5 inches tall and 105 pounds.

The client also asked Lewis if he could give Kristen "extra funds" as a deposit for future services. Lewis explained that it was not standard practice, but that she was willing to make an exception for Client 9.

Spitzer's travel schedule shows he spent the night of Feb. 13 in Washington to attend a congressional hearing the next day, Valentine's Day. Spitzer was not initially scheduled to appear at the hearing on the state of the bond industry, held by the Financial Services subcommittee on capital markets, insurance and government-sponsored enterprises. But committee staff members said Spitzer called to insist on coming to testify, and they ended up pushing back the New York insurance superintendent to make room for the governor's last-minute appearance.

Spitzer made a name for himself as New York's crusading attorney general, taking on white-collar criminals and prosecuting securities fraud cases. He also broke up two prostitution rings.

Spitzer ran for governor in 2006 as a reformer who would shake up the sometimes gridlocked politics of Albany, and his landslide 69 percent of the vote was the largest margin ever in a New York gubernatorial race. But his popularity quickly waned as he became enmeshed in scandals and political missteps, including allegations that his staff used New York state troopers to collect potentially damaging political information against his chief rival in Albany, Joseph L. Bruno, the state Republican leader. Spitzer later apologized to Bruno.

As evidence of his tough-minded, no-compromise style, Spitzer also famously told James Tedisco, the State Assembly Republican leader: "I'm a [expletive] steamroller, and I'll roll over you and anybody else."

Spitzer also proposed a plan to give state driver's licenses to illegal immigrants. But that created a national firestorm of protest, and complicated the presidential campaign of Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.), who was asked in an early debate whether she supported it and is seen as having flubbed her answer.

"His whole first year has been in incredibly contentious relationships," said Eric Lane, a law professor at Hofstra University.

Staff writers Carrie Johnson in Charlottesville and Jonathan Weisman and Petula Dvorak in Washington contributed to this report.

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