Report links Spitzer to prostitution ring

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? (AP) Governor Eliot Spitzer apologized to his family and the public Monday, but did not elaborate on a bombshell report that he has been involved in a prostitution ring.

The governor, in a brief news conference at his Manhattan office, said, "I have acted in a way that violates my obligations to my family ... my sense of right and wrong. I must now dedicate some time to regain the trust to my family."

Spitzer's wife, Silda, stood at his side, as he made the statement. They have three daughters.

The alleged prostitution connection - first reported by The New York Times - marked a stunning turn of events for a politician who built his legacy on rooting out corruption.

Last week, federal prosecutors in Manhattan filed conspiracy charges against four people, accusing them of running a prostitution ring that charged wealthy clients in Europe and the U.S. thousands of dollars for prostitutes.

The Web site of the Emperors Club VIP displays photographs of the prostitutes' bodies, with their faces hidden, along with hourly rates depending on whether the prostitutes were rated with various numbers of diamonds, with seven diamonds being the highest. Prosecutors said the highest-ranked prostitutes cost $5,500 an hour.

The case is being handled by prosecutors in the Public Corruption unit of U.S. Attorney Michael Garcia's office, which had no comment.

A law enforcement official has told The Associated Press that Spitzer's involvement in the prostitution ring was caught on a federal wiretap.

The official says Spitzer is identified in court papers as "Client 9," and the wiretap was part of an investigation that opened in the last few months.

The official says the New York governor met last month with at least one woman in a Washington hotel. The law enforcement official spoke on condition of anonymity because of the ongoing investigation.

Spitzer stormed into the governor's office in 2006 with a historic share of the vote, vowing to continue his no-nonsense approach to fixing one of the nation's worst governments.

But his stint as governor has been marred by several problems, including an unpopular plan to grant driver's licenses to illegal immigrants and a plot by his aides to smear Spitzer's main Republican nemesis, Senate Republican leader Joseph Bruno.

Spitzer had been expected to testify to the state Public Integrity Commission he had created to answer for his role in the scandal, in which his aides are accused of misusing state police to compile travel records to embarrass Bruno.

Spitzer had served two terms as attorney general where he pursued criminal and civil cases and cracked down on misconduct and conflicts of interests on Wall Street and in corporate America.

His cases as state attorney general included a few criminal prosecutions of prostitution rings and into tourism involving prostitutes.

In 2004, he was part of an investigation of an escort service in New York City that resulted in the arrest of 18 people on charges of promoting prostitution and related charges.

New Jersey Gov. Jon Corzine, on MSNBC?s Hardball Monday, said he was stunned and shocked by the allegations. He said Spitzer now has a lot of work cut out for him in winning the trust back from his family and the public. He added Spitzer has always been dedicated to good things for New York.

Click here for the New Jersey connection to the Spitzer scandal.

Gov. Spitzer?s complete statement

Complaint that mentions "Client 9"

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