Ex-NY Gov. Spitzer will not face sex ring charges

NEW YORK Thu Nov 6, 2008 4:24pm EST

New York Governor Eliot Spitzer stands next to his wife Silda Wall Spitzer as he announces his resignation at his office in New York March 12, 2008. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid

New York Governor Eliot Spitzer stands next to his wife Silda Wall Spitzer as he announces his resignation at his office in New York March 12, 2008.

Credit: Reuters/Brendan McDermid

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NEW YORK (Reuters) - Former New York Governor and aggressive white collar crime prosecutor Eliot Spitzer will not face criminal charges for his involvement in a prostitution ring that led to his resignation, U.S. prosecutors said on Thursday.

Spitzer, who stepped down as governor in March amid a scandal over a $1,000-an-hour prostitute, in a separate statement on Thursday for the first time acknowledged his participation in the sex ring.

"In light of the policy of the Department of Justice with respect to prostitution offenses and the long-standing practice of this Office, as well as 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," U.S. Attorney in Manhattan Michael Garcia said in a statement.

Garcia said "a thorough investigation" had uncovered no evidence of misuse of public or campaign funds and insufficient evidence to bring charges against Spitzer for any offense relating to the withdrawal of funds for payments to the sex ring known as the Emperors Club VIP.

Spitzer, 49, in his other former role as New York State Attorney General championed anti-prostitution legislation and cracked down on financial crimes that earned him the nickname "The Sheriff of Wall Street".

On Thursday, Spitzer apologized for conduct that forced him to quit as governor less than 15 months after being sworn in on January 1, 2007.

"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.

"I once again apologize for my actions and for the pain and disappointment those actions caused my family and the many people who supported me during my career in public life."

Garcia said in his statement that Spitzer, on multiple occasions, arranged for women to travel from one state to another state to engage in prostitution.

The statement said the former prosecutor "acknowledged to this office that he was a client of, and made payments to, the Emperors Club VIP.

"We have determined that there is insufficient evidence to bring charges against Mr Spitzer for any offense relating to the withdrawal of funds for, and his payments to, the Emperors Club VIP," Garcia's statement said.

In August, a booking agent for the ring pleaded guilty to a conspiracy charge relating to prostitution.

Tanya Hollander, 36, was one of four people charged with running the high-priced club broken up this year. She pleaded guilty to a charge of violating the Travel Act, which bans crossing state lines to carry out illegal business such as prostitution.

The other three charged have all pleaded guilty and await sentencing.

(Reporting by Grant McCool and Martha Graybow; Editing by Andre Grenon)

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