Gov. Eliot Spitzer has informed his most senior administration officials that he had been involved in a prostitution ring, an administration official said this morning.
Mr. Spitzer, who was huddled with his top aides early this afternoon, had hours earlier abruptly canceled his scheduled public events for the day. He is set to make an announcement about 2:15 this afternoon at his Manhattan office.
Mr. Spitzer, a first-term Democrat who pledged to bring ethics reform and end the often seamy ways of Albany, is married with three children.
Just last week, federal prosecutors arrested four people in connection with an expensive prostitution operation. Administration officials would not say that this was the ring with which the governor had become involved. (Related Story).
But a person with knowledge of the governor’s role said that the person believes the governor is one of the men identified as clients in court papers.
The governor’s travel records show that he was in Washington in mid-February. One of the clients described in court papers arranged to meet with a prostitute who was part of the ring, the Emperors Club VIP on the night of Feb. 13.
Mr. Spitzer appeared on CNBC at 7 a.m. the next morning (See the video of his appearance here). Later in the morning, he testified before a Congressional committee.
An affidavit filed in federal court in Manhattan in connection with that case lists six conversations between the man, identified as Client 9, and a booking agent for the Emperors Club.
He had a difficult first year in office, rocked by a mix of scandal and legislative setbacks. In recent weeks, however, Mr. Spitzer seemed to have rebounded, with his Democratic party poised to perhaps gain control of the state Senate for the first time in four decades.
Mr. Spitzer gained national attention when he served as attorney general with his relentless pursuit of Wall Street wrongdoing. As attorney general, he also had prosecuted at least two prostitution rings as head of the state’s organized crime task force.
In one such case in 2004, Mr. Spitzer spoke with revulsion and anger after announcing the arrest of 16 people for operating a high-end prostitution ring out of Staten Island.
“This was a sophisticated and lucrative operation with a multitiered management structure,” Mr. Spitzer said at the time. ”It was, however, nothing more than a prostitution ring.”
Albany for months been roiled by bitter fighting and accusations of dirty tricks. The Albany County district attorney is set to issue in the coming days the results of his investigation into Mr. Spitzer’s first scandal, his aides’ involvement in an effort to tarnish Majority Leader Joseph L. Bruno, the state’s top Republican.