A prostitution rap may be the least of New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer’s legal woes if federal authorities decide to pursue criminal charges against him. It’s the money trail that could do the most damage, says the New York Daily News. The four defendants in the Emperors Club VIP case face five-year maximum prison terms for conspiring to transport women across state lines for sex. Accused ringleader Mark Brener, 62, and Cecil (Katie) Suwal, 23, allegedly laundered more than $1 million in cash, credit, and wire transfers to dummy accounts set up to hide dirty money generated by the online prostitution ring. Those charges have maximum 20-year terms.
The 5,000 telephone calls and text messages, as well as 6,000 e-mails, could be used to link Spitzer to the scheme by showing that, as a veteran prosecutor, he had to know the money was going to advance a criminal conspiracy. “Who knew better than him that this money was going to further a criminal enterprise?” said a former federal prosecutor who has worked money-laundering cases. The complaint filed by Manhattan federal prosecutors indicates that Client 9 – Spitzer – was well aware of the need to hide the source of the illegal transaction.