A 25-year-old woman alleged that Spitzer choked her inside a room at the Plaza Hotel on Saturday, two law enforcement sources briefed on the investigation told CNN.
"The victim has indicated that the subject is Eliot Spitzer," the New York Police Department said in a statement released Sunday. "Through an ongoing investigation, we are attempting to further establish the identity of the subject and the nature of the incident."
The former governor has not been charged with any crime.
A spokeswoman for Spitzer denied the assault accusation.
"There is no truth to the allegation," spokeswoman Lisa Linden said.
A statement prepared by Spitzer's attorney and released by the spokeswoman Monday night details the former governor's account of what happened at the hotel. The statement also claims the woman has sent an email recanting her accusation.
The bottom line, according to Spitzer's attorney: "There was no assault or criminal activity of any nature on the part of Mr. Spitzer."
Broken glass, cell phone seized
Police went to the hotel Saturday after receiving a call of an emotionally disturbed person, one of the law enforcement sources said.
The woman was taken to the hospital with self-inflicted cuts to her wrists, the source said.
At the hospital, the source said, the woman told police that she and Spitzer had gotten into a verbal dispute that turned physical.
After the woman was taken to the hospital, the former governor showed up there, obscuring his face with a skull cap, the source said.
A senior law enforcement official briefed on the investigation said Spitzer tried to visit the woman, using the name "George" at the hospital.
The woman, whose identity has not been released by authorities, told detectives that Spitzer was her boyfriend, the law enforcement source said. Spitzer's spokeswoman said the former governor knows the woman but said she is not his girlfriend. She denied he used a fake name at the hospital.
Inside the room where the woman was staying, police removed several items as possible evidence, according to a law enforcement official. The items, including broken glass, indicated some kind of fight had occurred in the hotel room, the official added.
The woman's cell phone is now in the hands of police, who obtained a search warrant for it Sunday night, the senior law enforcement official said. They are examining the phone to determine whether there were any text messages between her and Spitzer, according to the law enforcement official. It appears some information on the phone was wiped remotely, according to the official.
Spitzer's attorney: Woman recants accusation
Adam Kaufmann, a lawyer who represents Spitzer, said in a statement that the woman is "someone whom Mr. Spitzer has known for a period of time."
"She had lived in California and was returning to her native Russia through New York. At her request, Mr. Spitzer agreed to meet her at a room previously booked for her at the Plaza Hotel," Kaufmann's statement said. "Mr. Spitzer met her in the room at midafternoon, and they had a brief and amicable conversation, and then Mr. Spitzer left."
Later Saturday, the woman asked Spitzer to return to the hotel, "at which time he saw her becoming highly emotional and was threatening self harm," Kaufmann said.
The woman has now returned to Russia, Kaufmann said, and has sent an email apologizing to the former governor for what happened Saturday.
"She has indicated that any allegations of assault were false," Kaufmann said.
A law enforcement source says investigators have received a copy of an email purportedly from the woman and are looking into it. Police say the woman has not officially recanted her account of what happened to authorities.
Law enforcement sources say police have not spoken to the woman since she left the United States.
Spitzer resigned as New York's governor in 2008 in the wake of a prostitution scandal. He lost a bid for city comptroller in 2013. In 2010 and 2011, he co-hosted a political talk show on CNN.