Jets Insider VIP JetsInsider.com Legend Charter JI Member
Feds Examining Spitzer's Funds In Prostitution Probe
[QUOTE][B]Feds Examining Spitzer's Funds In Prostitution Probe
March 14, 2008[/B]
As David Paterson gets ready to take over as governor on Monday, there are reports that federal investigators are looking into whether former Governor Eliot Spitzer used campaign funds to cover his tracks while paying for high-priced prostitutes.
According to the New York Times, the feds want to see records from three trips Spitzer took, including the February 13th visit to Washington.
Spending campaign money for personal reasons is illegal.
The Times says investigators first became suspicious about his use of campaign money last fall.
The governor has reportedly told staffers he only paid for sex over the last eight months, and denies campaign money was ever used.
Prosecutors have denied cutting any deal with Spitzer, who could face charges of money laundering and transporting someone across state lines for the purposes of prostitution.
But the Times, citing a person close to the former governor, says prosecutors told Spitzer he was less likely to be charged if he stepped down.
Paterson says he will be working through the weekend to prepare to take office and also on prepping the state's budget which is due April 1st.
Spitzer had proposed a $124 billion spending plan, but Paterson says he is open to making some changes.
Paterson held a news conference in Albany yesterday, a day after Spitzer announced his resignation.
The Brooklyn-born, Harlem-raised former state Senator said the state government is stable and he's ready to take over despite the circumstances that brought him to power.
"I did not get into this position the way most people have and the way most people would want," said Paterson. "But I made a commitment when I gave my word to Governor Spitzer in January 2006, when I left as the Democratic Senate leader to be his running mate."
Paterson said he still needs to take a closer look at Mayor Bloomberg's congestion pricing plan. He also said he thinks Spitzer has suffered enough, and isn't sure he should face criminal charges.
Paterson showed his humorous side when asked by a reporter if he had ever hired a prostitute.
“Only the lobbyists,” he said, prompting the room full of reporters to erupt in laughter. "That's why we want campaign finance."
Some of Spitzer's staff members will stay on, which will ease Paterson's transition.
Paterson will be sworn in Monday afternoon before a joint session of the state legislature in Albany. NY1 will carry it live at 1 p.m.
State Senate Majority Leader Joe Bruno is calling on Albany to unite behind Paterson, but he also took a dig at Sptizer in an op-ed published in today's New York Post.
In the paper, Bruno says the business of the state will continue, but in a much different manner than during the Spitzer administration.
"New Yorkers don't want a governor who runs the state through threats and intimidation, and who puts politics and partisanship ahead of policy," he writes.
Bruno says he looks forward to working with Paterson to restore the people's trust and confidence, but he says he hopes Paterson puts forward a more moderate agenda than some of his Democratic colleagues.
Appearing on “Inside City Hall” last night, Bruno said he has nothing but support for Spitzer when it comes to the former governor's personal crisis.
"I just wish that things would come together for him and that he gets together and has some future,” said Bruno. “He's a very bright articulate individual and you know nobody wishes misfortune on anybody."
Former Mayor Rudolph Giuliani was asked about Spitzer while campaigning for Republican presidential candidate John McCain in Pennsylvania. He wouldn't comment directly on the outgoing governor's legal problems.
"I feel great sadness for the governor, his family, his children. He made the decision he believed was the right one and I pray for him,” said Giuliani.
Giuliani added he currently has no intention to run for governor.
Meanwhile, the New York Post says call girl Ashley Dupré will testify before a federal grand jury investigating Spitzer.
A lawyer for the 22-year-old New Jersey native tells the Post he doesn't expect her to face charges.
Dupré has so far avoided the media storm swirling around her, making no public appearances since her identity was revealed.
But Hustler and Penthouse magazines say they are interested in working with her and the aspiring singer's songs have been a hot item on MySpace and several music sharing websites.