Spitzer gets off

And, this time, the Emperors Club VIP is paying for it.

By Tracy Clark-Flory

Published November 8, 2008 11:00AM (EST)

So, it turns out former Gov. Eliot Spitzer will not face federal charges for patronizing a prostitution ring. Let's not forget, though, that the Emperors Club VIP's managers and "hooker bookers" were already prosecuted and currently face sentencing. And, guess what, they (and their lawyers) aren't too happy that the very client who led federal investigators to their escort agency in the first place is getting off (this time at their, rather than his, expense).

The agency's founder Mark Brener pleaded guilty to money laundering and prostitution conspiracy and faces 24 to 30 months in prison; manager/madam Cecil "Katie" Suwal pleaded guilty to the same charges and faces 21 to 27 months in jail. Bookers Tanya Hollander and Temeka Lewis face anywhere from six to 16 months for scheduling Spitzer's illegal rendezvous.

But, the United States attorney for the Southern District of New York has decided against prosecuting Spitzer because he did not misuse "public or campaign funds" in paying the Emperors Club, and because of the Department of Justice's stance on prostitution prosecutions. Under the Mann Act, which is mostly aimed at addressing human trafficking, the DoJ policy is that, "unless minors are victims, prosecutions ... should generally be limited to persons engaged in commercial prostitution activities." Spitzer -- who "arranged for women to travel from one state to another state to engage in prostitution," which is illegal under the Mann Act -- simply isn't their desired target.

Michael Farkas, Hollander's lawyer, responded to the news today in the New York Post: "I believe [Spitzer] to be a much more egregious actor than my client Tanya … and despite her cooperation and full acceptance of responsibility, she's still facing jail time." It was no bolt from the blue for Suwal's lawyer, Alberto Ebanks: "Their decision to not pursue this matter further against our disgraced former governor doesn't surprise me, as it is not typical or common for federal authorities to prosecute johns, albeit the most powerful john in the state of New York."

On a somewhat similar note, prostitute-turned-blogger Debauchette told Boing Boing that it's just your "typical case of the john being released while the prostitute, or in this case, the agency, gets punished," and added: "Put this within the larger context that Spitzer saw prostitutes while actively seeking their imprisonment, and that Emperors was only attending to his requests, and the whole mess strikes me as a distortion of justice and a sickening waste of resources."

Tracy Clark-Flory

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