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'Deeply sorry,' Spitzer to step down by Monday

  • Story Highlights
  • Sources: Governor's alleged ties with prostitution ring began eight months ago
  • U.S. attorney in New York says there's "no agreement" with Spitzer
  • Spitzer concedes "private failings" in resigning, effective Monday
  • Resignation will make Lt. Gov. David Paterson New York's first black governor
  • Next Article in Politics »
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NEW YORK (CNN) -- Gov. Eliot Spitzer said Wednesday that he will step down from the state's top office because he cannot allow his "private failings to disrupt the public's work."

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Gov. Eliot Spitzer, wife at his side, apologizes Wednesday and announces he is stepping down.

"I am deeply sorry that I did not live up to what was expected of me," he said at a brief news conference announcing his intention to resign, effective Monday. "I will try once again outside of politics to serve the common good."

With his wife, Silda, at his side, he added, "Our greatest glory consists not in never falling but in rising every time we fall."

The announcement came as the New York governor faces allegations -- but no charges -- that he is tied to an international prostitution ring ensnared in a federal investigation.

Spitzer's lawyers were in discussions Wednesday with the U.S. attorney's office in New York, trying to negotiate a plea deal to avoid prosecution, a source said.

However, U.S. Attorney Michael Garcia in New York issued a statement saying, "There is no agreement between this office and Gov. Eliot Spitzer relating to his resignation or any other matter."

Spitzer, a former state attorney general whose reputation as a scourge of white-collar crime propelled him to the governor's office in 2006, has faced calls for his resignation since apologizing for a personal indiscretion Monday. He has not elaborated. See a timeline of Spitzer's life »

In his Wednesday announcement, Spitzer said, "Over the course of my public life, I have insisted -- I believe correctly -- that people, regardless of their position or power, take responsibility for their conduct. I can and will ask no less of myself." Video Watch Spitzer say his "failings" led him to resign »

On Monday, prosecutors unsealed an affidavit detailing a rendezvous in a Washington hotel room last month as part of a federal prostitution investigation. The affidavit refers only to "Client 9," but a source told CNN on Monday that the reference was to Spitzer. View a gallery of recent political sex scandals »

Sources said Spitzer spent more than $15,000 for several encounters with prostitutes. Sources revealed Wednesday that Spitzer is thought to have begun patronizing the prostitution outfit, known as the Emperors Club, eight months ago and had used its services on at least eight occasions.

Both Republicans and Democrats had called for him to leave office.

"Eliot knows he cannot hold onto his job here. He might want to, but he is absolutely aware of his predicament," a Democratic source said Tuesday.

Lt. Gov. David Paterson, 53, will become the first black governor in the state and the fourth in U.S. history. The former state Senate minority leader, who is legally blind, is the son of Basil Paterson, a longtime Democratic operative in New York City.

In a statement after Spitzer's announcement, Paterson called the governor a friend and said he was saddened by the news surfacing this week.

"My heart goes out to him and to his family at this difficult and painful time," Paterson said. "It is now time for Albany to get back to work as the people of this state expect from us."

All About Spitzer

  • Time magazine names Spitzer "Crusader of the Year" during his two terms as New York attorney general.

  • Tabloids label him "Eliot Ness" because of his focus on corruption, white-collar criminals and organized crime.

  • He was an assistant district attorney in Manhattan in the 1980s and early '90s.

  • The first-term governor had been considered a rising star in the Democratic Party.
  • Spitzer, 48, took office in January 2007 after eight years as the state's attorney general, rising to national prominence. He built his career on rooting out public corruption and became a national figure with a series of high-profile Wall Street investigations. He also prosecuted prostitution rings. Video Watch how Wall Street views Spitzer scandal »

    Spitzer is married with three daughters.

    Sources said a federal money-laundering investigation led agents to Spitzer.

    A 47-page affidavit details arrangements for a nearly 2-hour rendezvous between Client 9 and a prostitute identified only as "Kristen" at a Washington hotel in February. A source identified the hotel as the Mayflower. Video Watch breakdown of key dates in Spitzer scandal »

    The woman is a 22-year-old would-be singer from New Jersey, The New York Times reported Wednesday.

    The newspaper said Ashley Youmans, now known as Ashley Alexandra Dupre, was identified in court documents as Kristen.

    A grand jury in New York is likely to hear evidence in the case soon, said Kathleen Mullin, an attorney who said she represents one of the ring's employees.

    Mullin would not identify her client but said she was not the "Kristen" who court papers linked to Spitzer. She said her client and other women who worked for the Emperors Club have been asked to testify before the grand jury.

    Asked whether her client had any encounters with Spitzer, Mullin said, "We have no information regarding the governor."

    The affidavit alleges that Client 9 paid for the prostitute to travel from New York to Washington. The Mann Act makes it a federal offense to take someone across state lines for the purpose of prostitution.

    The Emperors Club, for which officials said the prostitute worked, charged between $1,000 and $5,500 an hour and operated in New York; Los Angeles, California; Miami, Florida; London, England; and Paris, France, according to court papers released by prosecutors last week.

    Authorities learned more about the inner workings of the prostitution ring by using wiretaps and accessing text messages, according to the affidavit. E-mail to a friend E-mail to a friend

    CNN's Kelli Arena, Heidi Collins, Kevin Bohn, Jason Carroll, Dana Garrett and John King contributed to this report.

    All About Eliot Spitzer

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