Friday, March 14, 2008

Some Plead for Spitzer

Beginning Monday when the Spitzer scandal broke, there’ve been unanswered questions concerning, for example, possible use of campaign funds to pay prostitutes and whether Spitzer’s been blackmailed during the years he’s held public office.

Those questions and others need to be fully investigated.

But some don’t want that to happen. A NY Times story today includes:

A friend of Mr. Spitzer’s, who spoke on condition of anonymity, reacted with fury at the news that prosecutors appeared to be widening their inquiry to include money spent on campaign trips that may have involved trysts with prostitutes.

“At some point, this becomes piling on,” the friend said. The friend said that he would be stunned if “a judge or jury would convict a man for something like this. It’s very low grade,” adding, “Why would prosecutors pursue this?”
An AP story today includes this:
Gerald Lefcourt, past president of the National Association of Criminal Defense Attorneys, said criminal charges against Spitzer would be "stretching federal statutes to a place they've never been."

Edward J.M. Little, who worked in the public corruption unit of the Manhattan federal prosecutor's office in the 1980s, said it would be "piling on" to bring charges now.

"I think it would be outrageous if they went after him any further on this," he said. "Solicitation cases are typically pled down to minor charges and just because he was governor doesn't mean he should be treated any more harshly unless they impacted his duties as governor."

He added: "Even though I personally think it's reprehensible, it doesn't mean it's criminal. He's resigned which is probably the ultimate penalty in this case so we should let it be."
About Spitzer’s friend: If I were in Spitzer’s position, I’d be glad to have friends speaking up for me. But I’d tell them not to say: "Why would prosecutors pursue this?”

That will only get the public thinking maybe we need to know more about what Spitzer’s done that would concern federal and state prosecutors.

Message to attorneys Lefcourt and Little: I don’t doubt it’s in Spitzer’s interest to try to cut a deal as soon as possible.

But it’s not in the public’s interest until federal investigators and prosecutors can assure us they’ve looked at everything that could be criminal, had time to weigh everything and have concluded that a deal, if reached, is in the public’s interests as well as Spitzer’s.

The complete NYT story is here; the complete AP story's here.


Anonymous said...

The single reason for prosecuting Spitzer to the full extent of the law is the fact that he, as New York Attorney General, prosecuted more than one case of this nature and he charged every culpable party to the fullest extent of the law. His pals are now seeking a "bye" for the Guv. I think the term for that is hypocrisy. Charge him to the max and if it means jail time, Sing Sing has a few special cells for ex-prosecutors. He'll have no problem finding "unsafe sex" while in the pokey. He's a prime POS and should be put away where he can't see the light of day for a decade or so.
Tarheel Hawkeye

Anonymous said...

It just occurred to me that Eliot's little $4K gal pal was likely being paid under the table. Which means that she never claimed her "fees" as income when (or if) she filed her taxes. How come nobody is asking that question?
Tarheel Hawkeye

Anonymous said...

Need that question be asked?



Anonymous said...

John -
While my heart agrees with you and Tarheel Hawkeye (especially his 8:47 PM comment) my head says otherwise. On this matter, I happen to agree with Bill Anderson and to some extent Alan Dershowitz. The laws that Eliot Spitzer used to prosecute targets (or more correctly, persecute), should never have been on the books in the first place. That is how got to be "famous." (BTW It is not too different than the tact used by Franklin Roosevelt in the 1930 to distract citizens from his miserable governance.) Secondly, the laws used to get Spitzer should not be used for such trivial cases. Those laws are heavy duty laws meant to stop heavy duty crimes and terrorism. As soon as the investigators found out the purpose for which Spitzer was using the money, they should have dropped the case. The misuse of such laws ensares people who at most might be guilty of petty crimes. Here, think of Michael Vick who was forced to plead guilty by the threat of RICO being used against him (for essentially a state infraction). Such laws place us all at risk.

Jack in Silver Spring