|www.chinaview.cn 2008-03-12 23:47:57|
NEW YORK, March 12 (Xinhua) -- Governor Eliot Spitzer of New York State resigned Wednesday, two days after news broke that he was a repeat client of a high-end prostitution ring.
The resignation becomes effective March 17. His deputy, Lt. Gov. David Paterson, will take over to become the state's first black governor. Paterson, who lost most of his sight after an infection at the age of three months, will also be the first legally-blind governor in the United States.
Flanked by his wife, Spitzer told a press conference in his Manhattan office that he will leave public life.
"I am deeply sorry that I did not live up to what was expected of me. To every New Yorker, to those who believed in what I tried to stand for, I sincerely apologize."
"The remorse I fell will always be with me," Spitzer said. "Words cannot describe how I grateful I am for the love and compassion they have shown me."
Lt. Gov. David Paterson will finish out Spitzer's term, which ends in 2010.
The Brooklyn-born Paterson was first elected to represent Harlem in the State Senate in 1985 and became Senate minority leader in 2002.
Spitzer, a former state attorney general who made his reputation as a law-and-order reformer, was barely a year into his first term as governor.
A rising star in the Democratic Party, he was once touted as a possible future presidential candidate.
The scandal became the top news item in the United States, with news helicopters of major TV stations following Spitzer's motorcade that traveled from his residence near Central Park to his office.
News reports, quoting law enforcement officials, said Spitzer had spent as much as 80,000 dollars with the Emperor's Club, an international prostitution ring, and that Spitzer had been soliciting prostitutes for at least six years.
Investigators say Spitzer is the man identified only as "Client 9" in a series of wiretaps involving Emperors Club, which arranged a tryst in Washington between him and a call-girl last month.
An affidavit prepared by an FBI agent says "Client 9" paid the prostitute 4,300 dollars in cash to meet him at a hotel room in Washington and that there are several indications that the client was a regular customer.
Spitzer, a Bronx native, graduated from Harvard Law School in 1984 and was an assistant district attorney for six years before becoming the state's attorney general in 1999.
Spitzer built a national reputation as a tough-talking crime fighter, throwing charges of securities fraud and stock manipulation against some of Wall Street's biggest names. He won settlements from Merrill Lynch, Morgan Stanley, Goldman Sachs, Salomon Smith Barney, Lehman Brothers, and J.P. Morgan Chase, earning himself the nickname "The Sheriff of Wall Street."
He was also known as "Mr. Clean" for his perceived incorruptible nature. In 2006, campaigning on a platform of fiscal reform and ethics in government, Spitzer was elected governor with a record 69 percent of the vote.