Criminal Charge No Certainty for Spitzer

Resignation could soften prosecutors' stance on NY governor
By Nick McMaster,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 13, 2008 5:52 PM CDT
New York State Gov. Eliot Spitzer announces his resignation amid a prostitution scandal as wife Silda looks on Wednesday, March 12, 2008 in his offices in New York City.   (AP Photo/Stephen Chernin)
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(Newser) – Although Eliot Spitzer’s political career is over, it remains unclear what legal fate awaits the disgraced New York governor, the Wall Street Journal reports. Spitzer’s resignation wasn’t part of any deal, the feds confirm, but makes him less of a legal target. One possibility is a deferred-prosecution settlement, in which Spitzer would admit to the crime—but ultimately won't be prosecuted.

If prosecutors prove more aggressive, they could try to charge him with “structuring”—specifically, the crime of dividing transfers of cash used to finance his salacious exploits into smaller sums to avoid raising eyebrows. But that crime is normally used to target high-end drug traffickers, and requires proof that Spitzer intended financial duplicity—not merely to avoid embarrassment.