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Gov. Spitzer steps down amid prostitution scandal


NEW YORK--New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer announced his much-anticipated resignation Wednesday, ending two days of speculation that his involvement in a prostitution ring would lead to the end of his tenure, Crain's New York Business reports.

Gov. Spitzer announced that, at the request of Lt. Gov. David Paterson, the resignation would be effective March 17. He twice cited "private failings" and said they should not get in the way of the operation of the state government, according to Crain's New York Business, a sister publication of Business Insurance.

"I look at my time as governor with a sense of what might have been," Gov. Spitzer said at a press conference. "There is much more to be done, and I cannot allow my private failings to disrupt the people's work. People, regardless of their position or power, take responsibility for their conduct. I can and will ask no less of myself. For this reason I am resigning from the office of governor."

Gov. Spitzer said after a period of "healing" he will "try once again--outside of politics--to serve the common good."

News first emerged Monday of Gov. Spitzer's involvement with Emperors Club VIP, a high-priced call girl service whose operators were arrested by federal prosecutors last week. The governor was allegedly caught on federal wiretap arranging to meet with a high-priced prostitute at a Washington hotel last month and reportedly used service a number of times, spending a total of $80,000.

Without officially confirming his identity as the service's "Client 9," Gov. Spitzer said in a press conference Monday that he had "violated obligations to (his) family and the public," and said he would take some time to regain his family's trust, fueling rumors of an imminent resignation.

Gov. Spitzer spent the following two days conferring with staffers on the question of resigning, as wife Silda reportedly urged him to stay on. But prospects were grim from the beginning: an appeal to Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver did little to assuage fears that Gov. Spitzer would not be impeached, and he entered discussions with state prosecutors for a plea deal that would allow him to avoid jail time in exchange for leaving office.

Even with Gov. Spitzer's resignation, questions remain. Investigators are probing whether the governor used tax dollars to fund any of the meetings, and state police are looking to determine whether Gov. Spitzer's security detail broke protocol during the meetings.