Governor Eliot Spitzer busted in a prostitution sting

March 11, 2008

I was watching the news last night and saw a headline story that sounded more like the plot of John Grisham political thriller than real life.  The scrolling ticker on the screen shouted “New York Governor Eliot Spitzer busted in a prostitution sting!”    

Imagine this story in the hands of a competent writer – full of intrigue and subterfuge. If you’re writing in this genre, you can review this True Crime Story and model the investigation and political fall out.   

The Characters

New York Gov. Spitzer cultivated a reputation of a straight laced, corruption busting prosecutor and politician.  He defended the everyman on Wall Street, taking on the big shots who weren’t playing fair.  As attorney general he was named “Crusader of the Year” by Time magazine in 2002 and as governor, he was known as “Mr Clean.”  He is married and has three daughters.  His wife Silda stood by his side as he made a statement to the press. “I have disappointed and failed to live up to the standard I expected of myself…I must now dedicate some time to regain the trust of my family.”

The Plot

Spitzer is accused of meeting a prostitute in Washington, D.C the day before Valentine’s Day. His involvement in the prostitution ring was uncovered by the NY Times based on tip, after prosecutors arrested four people. Spitzer was not charged, however, he has been identified as “Client 9”.  Spitzer was caught on a federal wiretap making arrangements to meet a prostitute from the Emperors Club. A prostitute known as “Kristen” is one of the defendants arrested in the sting.  She has given $4,300 in cash by Client 9, payment for her services and a down payment for future trysts.  The Emperors Club maintains a web site and advertises hourly rates for prostitutes rated one to seven diamonds. The highest ranked prostitutes cost $5,500 an hour.  The IRS initiated the investigation and then it was referred to the Public Corruption Unit of the US Attorney’s Office. There is some speculation that the hand off occurred when agents identified Spitzer. Spitzer has made several enemies on Wall Street and in political circles.  He once told a Republican legislative leader: “I’m a steamroller, and I’ll roll over you and anybody else.”  The news couldn’t have come at a worse time for the Democratic Party and Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton in particular. She is still fighting for the Democratic Presidential Candidacy.

The Plot Twists

Was he framed by a former nemesis?  A Wall Street power broker with access to millions sets up an elaborate trap, or blackmails an investigator who went bust.  Or is it a set up by a political advisory conspiring to sabotage the presidential election.