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Customer No. 9, or the fall of Spitzer?

If you asked me how Eliot Spitzer's career was going to end, a Mann Act indictment would not have been in my top hundred guesses. [NY Times; WNBC; CNN/AP; Smoking Gun] Even if guilty, it still wouldn't rank among the ten worst things he's ever done.

Update: Good commentary from John Carney:

There's a certain poetic quality to this final act of Spitzer's. His extraordinary popularity with members of the press (now presumably extinguished) was rooted in his willingness to leak, sotto voce, allegations of misconduct in the personal lives of the subjects of his investigations. The press loved the juicy headlines. His motivation was apparently to embarrass and intimidate the subjects of his investigations so that they would be forced to comply.

We admit to enjoying the spectacle of watching a man so given to the high moralistic tone brought low by such a misdeed. As one commenter on the New York Times wrote, he's gone from Eliot Ness to Eliot Mess. But this is not just schadenfreude. There's a matter of serious public concern beneath the cheers and smirks of those who won't be sorry to see Spitzer fall from the bully pulpit. What the federal wiretap has uncovered is not just a sex scandal but a dark crack running through the character of New York's governor. It's as if we were Basil Hallward looking for the first time at the picture of Dorian Gray.

That a man so versed in the blackmail style of prosecution would so readily open himself up to that dark art is, at the very least, extraordinary. One would think that a man who deployed his aides to whisper about a corporate executive allegedly "banging" his assistant, would be wise enough to the ways of the world to avoid putting himself in a position where he could be blackmailed.

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Rafael Mangual
Project Manager,
Legal Policy

Manhattan Institute


Published by the Manhattan Institute

The Manhattan Insitute's Center for Legal Policy.