November 6, 2008 -- Federal prosecutors said today they will not bring criminal charges against former New York Governor Eliot Spitzer for his involvement as "client # 9" of an international prostitution service.
Spitzer resigned as Governor March 12 after it was revealed he paid for a prostitute, Ashlee Dupree, through the Emperors Club VIP prostitution service in New York.
The Governor's sex scandal was front page news around the world, as he announced his shame and resignation with his wife, Silda, standing by his side. She remains married to Spitzer and they have been seen walking hand-in-hand in their Upper East Side Manhattan neighborhood.
"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," Spitzer said in a statement today. "I resigned my position as Governor because I recognized that conduct was unworthy of an elected official."
A lawyer for Dupree, Don Buchwald, said, "Ashley is pleased that this matter is behind her."
The FBI opened its investigation when banks reportedly became suspicious of Spitzer's wire transfers of money, which initially appeared to be bribe or payoff money. Agents later determined the money was going to the prostitution service through a London account.
Prosecutors had considered bringing charges connected to money laundering, or "structured withdrawals" to hide illegal movement of funds.
Spitzer paid for the young woman to travel to Washington, D.C. where he met her at the Mayflower Hotel, which might have violated laws relating to moving women across state lines for the purpose of prostitution.
"After a thorough investigation, this office has uncovered no evidence of misuse of public or campaign funds," said U.S. attorney Michael J. Garcia.
"In addition we have determined that there is insufficient evidence to bring charges against Mr. Spitzer for any offense related to the withdraw of funds for, and his payment to, the Emperors' Club VIP."
"I once again apologize for my actions," said Spitzer's statement, "and for the pain and disappointment those actions caused my family and the many people who supported me during my career in public life."
The convicted owner of a second prostitution service who says she provided women for Spitzer, Kristin Davis, was outraged at the decision. "It's completely unfair," she said.
"As governor he should be held to the highest standard," said Davis. "He went after numerous people for the same laws that he broke and they end up spending jail time and losing their life's savings."
Known as the "Manhattan Madam," Davis served three months in jail and forfeited almost $1 million in profits after pleading guilty to running a New York prostitution service that catered to businessmen.
The federal prosecutor said Spitzer acknowledged "he was a client of, and made payments to the Emperors Club VIP" but that the decision was in keeping with Justice Department policy "and the longstanding practices of this office" not to bring criminal charges against the customers of prostitution services.
Given "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," the prosecutor said.
Spitzer, who made his name by bringing high-profile cases against many of New York's financial giants, was publicly humiliated by the tabloid coverage of the case.
Agents reportedly intercepted Spitzer e-mails and wiretapped his conversations with the prostitution service.
Since his resignation, he has spent most of his time running his father's lucrative real estate investment firm.
Anna Schecter contributed to this report.