U.S. Attorney Michael Garcia just announced that former governor Eliot Spitzer won’t be charged in the prostitution scandal that cost him his office last March. That loss, it seems, was the biggest factor in Garcia’s calculation.
Prosecuting Spitzer on money-laundering or “structuring” counts — essentially for trying to hide his payments to the Emperors Club — was always going to be difficult, given the fairly small amounts of money involved, how Spitzer barely attempted to hide the transactions, and that he apparently didn’t spend campaign money. A more difficult call was whether to charge Spitzer with transporting Ashley Dupré across state lines for the purposes of prostitution. Garcia basically says that Spitzer is guilty — but that his office rarely enforces that particular law, and Spitzer has suffered enough. (And according to a fellow Upper East Side voter who stood in line near him Tuesday, Spitzer’s suffering remains visibly apparent.) After the announcement today, the ex-guv released a statement of his own:
I understand the Office of the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York has decided that it will not bring criminal charges against me. 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. I resigned my position as Governor because I recognized that conduct was unworthy of an elected official. I once again apologize for my actions, and for the pain and disappointment those actions caused my family and the many people who supported me during my career in public life.
No Federal Charges Against Spitzer [City Room/NYT]
Eliot Spitzer Issues Statement [Marketwatch]