NEW YORK (Reuters) - Eliot Spitzer left a lot of enemies in his wake as the “The Sheriff of Wall Street” and some still have not forgiven the former state attorney general, who resigned in 2008 as governor of New York in a prostitution scandal.
These opponents, prostitutes and Spitzer himself, talk for the cameras in a new film, shown for the first time as work-in-progress at the Tribeca Film Festival on Saturday night.
The as-yet-untitled film details Spitzer’s days crossing companies including Merrill Lynch, AIG and The New York Stock Exchange as New York attorney general and trying to change dirty politics as governor in the state’s capital of Albany.
“There is a second act for Eliot Spitzer. What form it will take remains to be seen,” said Oscar-winning director Alex Gibney, who spent two years making the film after the Democrat resigned as governor.
Among the Wall Street types interviewed was ex-New York Stock Exchange director Kenneth Langone, who said Spitzer was feared on Wall Street. “I like to think that I am not a vindictive person,” he said, but continued, “I can’t forgive him.”
Former Goldman Sachs chief executive John Whitehead recalled Spitzer’s aggressive manner and tactics. “He said, ‘I will destroy you.’”
“I hope I didn’t say that,” Spitzer said on camera.
Spitzer, once a rising star of the Democratic party, did not show up for the screening. In one of the four interviews for the film he discussed his prostitution scandal, in which he paid $100,000 for high-priced prostitutes.
“You cave to temptations in ways that seem easier and perhaps less damaging,” he says. His wife, Silda Wall Spitzer, declined to be interviewed.
Spitzer’s alleged former favorite escort, “Angelina” —- now a commodities trader —recalled meeting Spitzer outside New York in Puerto Rico, Washington and other places.
She said there was a tacit agreement not to acknowledge his identity. “He knew I knew,” she said. She also denied previous reports that he had worn black socks during sex.
Angelina’s identity is not revealed and an actress read her answer on camera.
Spitzer, who has fueled speculation of a return with increased visibility in interviews and as a pundit, recently told Fortune magazine that he was “incredibly frustrated” at no longer being governor. “I’ve never said I would never consider running for office again,” he added.
He resigned a little more than a year after becoming governor and kept a low profile until the U.S. Attorney’s office announced it would not seek charges.
Gibney, who made the film with Peter Elkind, author of “Rough Justice: The Rise and Fall of Eliot Spitzer”, said the film is about fallibility of human nature and the rough nature of politics.
“It’s about our political bloodsport, it’s about the powerful people that Spitzer went up against and how they struck back. It’s about power. And it’s about the strange mixture of beast and ideals that we are as human beings.”
Reporting by Christine Kearney, editing by Jackie Frank