Former Gov. Eliot Spitzer will not face criminal charges for patronizing a high-priced prostitution ring, federal prosecutors announced on Thursday.
The announcement, a five-paragraph statement from Michael J. Garcia, the United States attorney in Manhattan, ended almost eight months of uncertainty for the disgraced governor, whose lawyers had been quietly making their case to the country’s most prominent prosecutor’s office that he ought not be charged. And it ended the possibility that Mr. Spitzer, once an aggressive prosecutor himself, would have his private life explored in a public criminal case.
Mr. Spitzer resigned as governor in March, two days after The New York Times reported that he had been a customer of the Emperor’s Club V.I.P., a prostitution service that charged as much as $5,500 an hour.
Mr. Garcia said in the statement that his office had found that “on multiple occasions, Mr. Spitzer arranged for women to travel from one state to another state to engage in prostitution.” But the prosecutors found no evidence that Mr. Spitzer had used public money or campaign funds to pay for his encounters with prostitutes, he said.
“We have determined that there is insufficient evidence to bring charges against Mr. Spitzer,” Mr. Garcia said in the statement. “In light of the policy of the Department of Justice with respect to prostitution offenses and the longstanding practice of this office, as well as Mr. Spitzer’s acceptance of responsibility for his conduct, we have concluded that the public interest would not be further advanced by filing criminal charges in this matter.”
The policy, detailed in the Justice Department’s manual for United States attorneys on how to carry out their duties, advises that unless minors are victims, prosecutions “should generally be limited to persons engaged in commercial prostitution activities.”
While Mr. Spitzer has now been cleared, Yusill Scribner, a spokeswoman for Mr. Garcia’s office, would not say whether the decision not to bring charges signaled an end to the overall investigation, which began late last year and was conducted by the F.B.I. and the Internal Revenue Service.
In a statement released minutes after the United States attorney’s announcement, Mr. Spitzer said: “I appreciate the impartiality and thoroughness of the investigation by the U.S. attorney’s office, and I acknowledge and accept responsibility for the conduct it disclosed.
“I resigned my position as governor because I recognized that conduct was unworthy of an elected official.”