NY governor resigns over scandal

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The New York Governor Eliot Spitzer resigned today amid a scandal over a $1,000-an-hour prostitute, cutting short a career built on pugnacious investigations of Wall Street crimes.

Lieutenant Governor David Paterson will replace him on Monday, Spitzer said.

"I am resigning from the office of governor. At Lt. Governor Paterson's request, the resignation will be effective Monday, March 17," Spitzer announced.

Spitzer, a Democrat, had faced intense pressure to resign and impeachment threats from Republicans since the New York Times reported on Monday that he was caught on a federal wiretap arranging to meet with a prostitute.

Spitzer, 48 and married with three children, is a former New York state chief prosecutor who rose to prominence by investigating financial crime with a vigor that earned him the nickname Sheriff of Wall Street.

He also broke up prostitution rings as attorney general.

Spitzer had apologized to his family and the public on Monday for what he called a "private matter," but gave no details of what he was apologizing for and then shuttered himself in his New York City apartment for two days.

Some 70 percent of New York voters wanted Spitzer to quit, according to a WNBC/Marist poll conducted on Tuesday.

Spitzer, who attracted wide publicity but also resentment on Wall Street with his pursuit of financial crimes while he was the state's attorney general, became governor with nearly 70 percent of the vote in November 2006 on pledges to clean up state politics.

The Times, citing unnamed law enforcement officials, reported on Monday that Spitzer was the man identified as "Client 9" in a federal affidavit revealing details from an investigation into a prostitution ring.

Client 9 arranged to meet with "Kristen," a prostitute who charged $1,000 an hour, on February 13 in a Washington hotel and paid her $4,300, the court document said.

The complaint unveiled last week charged four people with running a prostitution ring dubbed The Emperors Club.

It was not known if Spitzer would face any charges stemming from the case.