Patterico's Pontifications

3/12/2008

DoJ Conditioning a Spitzer Plea Bargain on His Resignation? Nah — Plus, a Contest!

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 12:01 am



Via Hot Air, Newsday.com reports:

Lawyers for Gov. Eliot Spitzer are negotiating a possible plea deal with federal prosectuors stemming from his alleged involvement with a prostitution ring, sources said.

Several sources said that the one serious bargaining chip that Spitzer has to possibly avoid being charged with a serious felony, such as money laundering or avoiding federal currency rules, is to work out a deal in which he would give up the governorship. In return, prosecutors would assure him that he only would have to plead at most to a misdemeanor or even less and be in effect guaranteed that he would not have to go to prison.

This sounds improper to me. Dealing away a felony in return for having an elected official resign from his position?

I don’t believe it.

So far, the nutroots reaction has been idiotic and easily rebutted. This, if true, would give them something genuine to grouse about.

But I don’t think it’s true. I think the leakers are saying this to try to stir up sentiment against DoJ.

Prosecutors know that if Spitzer is to resign, it must be for his own reasons — such as, he can’t be effective because the allegations that this has been going on for six years cement his reputation as a laughingstock.

DoJ knows better than to make a resignation a condition of a criminal plea.

At least, I hope so.

P.S. Contest for you. This video (also via Hot Air) leaves off the name of the last hallway in that school — the one past Responsibility Road. What is the name of the hallway at the end? Is he headed down Dumbass Drive towards Hooker Highway?

Funniest answer gets a virtual pat on the head.

97 Responses to “DoJ Conditioning a Spitzer Plea Bargain on His Resignation? Nah — Plus, a Contest!”

  1. I vote Pantsdown Place

    Dan (84d9e9)

  2. Lawyer Lane?

    Curtis (e21caf)

  3. Skank Street?
    Puddy Place?
    The DC to NYC Toll Road?
    Red Light Ravine?
    The Spike Pike?
    Assphalt?
    Main Artery?
    Long Island Sexpressway?
    Slip Road?
    The Pink Line?
    Just remember,
    Straddle the center line and you’re on a byway.
    All roads lead to Bullshit Boulevard anyway.

    Apogee (366e8b)

  4. He slipped down Indiscretion Alley onto Resignation Road.

    Pablo (99243e)

  5. Humiliation Highway.

    Messy Divorce Expressway.

    Revoked License Interchange.

    24 Hour Cable News Beltway.

    Multiple Indictment Detour.

    Mug Shot Boulevard.

    Perfect Sense (b6ec8c)

  6. Rear End Roundabout

    HeartbreakRidge (159b59)

  7. He took Tumescence Turnpike to Catting-Around Alley but then drove off the road into Shit Creek.

    nk (5ce644)

  8. New York – Spitzer
    New Jersey – McGreevy
    Connecticut – Rowand

    The Tri state area is having trouble holding onto Governors. Who could be next? Rendell?

    Dennis D (ae900a)

  9. Mayflower Blvd.

    mike191 (f9991d)

  10. He slipped down Bareback Boulevard onto Humiliation Highway, on his way to Laughingstock Lane, where he arrived at Resignation Road.

    JD (75f5c3)

  11. From today’s WSJ:

    Mr. Spitzer won’t resign until he reaches an agreement with the government not to pursue charges, say those familiar with his legal team’s thinking.

    Got that? He wants no charges, no consequences whatsoever except his resignation. This made my jaw drop, as did this from the same source:

    Ms. Hirshman — a former assistant U.S. attorney in Manhattan — also argued that if federal prosecutors brought charges against Mr. Spitzer, they would be required to similarly charge the nine other unnamed clients in a federal complaint unsealed last Thursday, to avoid what’s known in legal circles as “selective prosecution.” None of the other nine unnamed clients have been charged in the case.

    The other johns are only mentioned in the context of making out the case against the ring-leaders. It wasn’t their activities that got law enforcement authorities interested to begin with; this began as an investigation of Spitzer possibly taking bribes or being blackmailed, and even the ring-leaders of the call-girl ring are secondary defendants (little fish). We have no reason to suspect that any of the other Clients “structured.” Nor is there any suggestion in the affidavit attached to the complaint that any of the other “Clients” paid for transporting a call-girl across state lines (although there are many interstate and international transactions alleged against the ring-leaders, of course, to support federal jurisdiction and federal criminal charges).

    Beldar (433d17)

  12. I must confess that I think this whole thing has been vastly over-played. It is not that I share Spitzer affiliations or his inclinations, as I am neither a Dem nor a liberal, and have been faithfully married for over 30 years.

    Clinton abused his position, abused his official location, potentially corrupted/injured his “partner”(s), and then committed perjury.

    Spitzer apparently used his own money, used private locations, employed professionals, and has not committed perjury.

    This whole carnival atmosphere thing strikes me as silly. It’s a family tragedy, perhaps, and should be left there. Is it really in our best interests for DOJ to decide it should be devoting all the resources necessary to prosecute everyone who slips away from family to visit hookers?

    jim2 (6482d8)

  13. Jim, it’s the fact that in addition to breaking several laws that Spitzer, as the highest elected official charged with enforcing the state of New York’s laws, was supposed to uphold, he also made his entire carreer out of going after people “who were wrong, morally”. He’s HAMMERED two seperated prostitution rings in addition to forcing the then CEO of AIG to step down, and other such high-minded acts.

    Get why we care about this? “Moral, ethical” Spitzer was TRASH! He has been banging whores behind his wife’s back for 7 or 8 YEARS. That goes back to when he prosecuted those prostitution rings. Spitzer had no trouble using the laws to put them behind bars, so he should have no trouble getting sent to jail for his own violations.

    Scott Jacobs (fa5e57)

  14. Scott –

    Is it your position then that hypocrisy is an impeachment offense?

    Or, perhaps, that elected officials must be impeached if found to have broken any law?

    jim2 (6482d8)

  15. I heard he laid down rubber on Hershey Highway…

    I'm Geekier (25af5f)

  16. He’s on his way to Divorce Court, of course.

    Spitzer seletively enforced prostitution laws against rings he was not doing business with and looked the other way from his friends at Emperor’s. Why?

    spongeworthy (9b4e06)

  17. Jim2: “Scott – Is it your position then that hypocrisy is an impeachment offense?”

    Jim, I think the problem is that because of Gov. Spitzer’s carefully established image as an upright, moral crusader, this stunning revelation carries more weight and will make it difficult, if not impossible, for him to govern effectively.

    While not exactly analogous, the situation is similar to that when, here in California, Gov. Grey Davis was widely scene as being ineffective in the state power crisis and was recalled.

    I don’t know what NY’s law is on recalls, but I think Spitzer would not be able to survive one despite being elected by a large majority only recently.

    Because of this, he should resign.

    JayHub (0a6237)

  18. No way. Chumley’s goin’ down anyway, he’s not “giving” me anything by resigning. Pull the other one, pal.

    No deal.

    mojo (8096f2)

  19. Scott –

    Is it your position then that hypocrisy is an impeachment offense?

    No, but hiring $2,000 an hour whores to polish his pole, while actively trying to avoid bank activity that would trigger system red-flags probably should be…

    It isn’t as though he didn’t know what he was doing was illegal.

    Scott Jacobs (fa5e57)

  20. He took a side trip down Backdoor Drive…

    and yes, he should resign for failing to act according to the laws of his state…and that could be held only to the banking regulations, and not the prostitution….

    reff (bff229)

  21. drive down foreplay way until you get to climax court. watch out for the $4300 tollbooth!

    assistant devil's advocate (8f2b16)

  22. Foreplay way? He’s driving a rental car… He likely passed up that turn and headed straight to Bareback Blvd.

    Scott Jacobs (fa5e57)

  23. So, are “should be”s enforceable?

    Or, does one perhaps need a recall petition and then a special election?

    BTW, by my reading, selective enforcement accusations might be tough since:

    1) his deeds were not in NY,

    2) the on-line nature meant that he would have had no knowledge of the locations of any assignations of others. That is, the group he used does not appear to have a bricks-and-mortar location (like a brothel) in NY.

    jim2 (6482d8)

  24. Jim, you missed my point.

    My “should be’s” ARE against the law, and the structuring is a FELONY. Governors likely aren’t allowed to serve their term from PRISON.

    And “not in New York” doesn’t matter on the whole “hires and fucks whores” issue. It’s against the law in DC too. If they like, I’m sure NY will extradite for prosecution.

    Scott Jacobs (fa5e57)

  25. You don’t have any idea whether his deeds were in New York or not. And you’re going to need to assume not one of his dates ever mentioned being from New York. If he had any conception this ring was operating in his jurisdiction, he had a duty to investigate. Otherwise he’s selectively enforcing the law to benefit himself and his business associates.

    spongeworthy (9b4e06)

  26. And let’s not forget he paid for a date to take the train from NY to DC. So he knows where these whores are doing business.

    spongeworthy (9b4e06)

  27. He took a spin around Shtuparound Circle, trying to avoid Scorned Wife Way. Unfortunately, he accidently turned onto Federal Probe Parkway, which led to Media Frenzy ranch where all the chickens came home to roost.

    rockindoug (8bb4e0)

  28. Also, Jim, “Kristin” is apparently based in NYC. Regardless of where “The Emperor’s Club” is physically located, he got a local girl, and likely paid her money directly. That’s prostitution, solicitation at the least.

    Face it. He’s guilty of multiple crimes that as the fromer state AG he knew about, and as the Govenor was sworn to uphold.

    Do you think a guy teacher who screws a female student he has no control (grade-wise) over shouldn’t be punished? Sort of the same deal…

    Scott Jacobs (fa5e57)

  29. Jim2,

    There was a real case in Illinois where a gypsy car dealer offered buyers a 33% discount for cash. The buyers “structured” by taking out several amounts smaller than $10,000.00 from their banks to avoid a CTR. They faced up to five years in prison.

    It really is not about the sex. This “holier than thou” asshole actively facilitated a money-laundering, tax-evading racket. He knew exactly what they were asking him to do and what he was doing. He is not a “client”. He is a gangster.

    nk (5ce644)

  30. “Structuring”? What the heck is that? It sounds to me suspiciously like double jeopardy. Not only do you get busted for paying for sex, you also are in trouble for USING CASH TO PAY FOR SEX!

    I’m also bothered that somehow they’ve managed to turn a guy using an escort service into some sort of criminal super-conspiracy.

    Think Monica Lewinski. Think Gary Condit. Why is it legal for these guys to use their power to seduce naive women into sex, but criminal to use their money to seduce more world-wise women who won’t get hurt in the process?

    Of course, my objections aren’t out of sympathy for Spitzer. Let him die by the sword he lived by. Still even as the same stupid laws that he enforced destroy him, I have to ask why we have these stupid laws.

    Phil (6d9f2f)

  31. To refute Sponge’s assertation that he had ZERO reason to think that at least one of his whores was from NYC, I give you the following from Page6 (link from Allah).

    Warning, they mozaic her face and nipples, but the latter not by much…

    And even if he didn’t know they were FROM NYC, it’s still a Mann Act violation for him to bring the hooker across state lines for said whoring.

    Scott Jacobs (fa5e57)

  32. “Structuring” is the deliberate attempt to avoid greater scrutiny from federal agencies by planning (or “by structuring”) your transactions to be under the limit placed by banking regulators (and as laid out under laws designed to make money-laundering illegal).

    It is illegal because otherwise it would be very simple to still take those huge bribes (or to pay them) and by keeping the deposits (or withdrawls) under that limit, no one would ever ask questions.

    And it is criminal because, well, it is.

    I don’t exactly agree with it (it sure would help drive down the price through open compitition, and thus make it easier for me to get a date some nights), but it IS the law, and thus we are supposed to obey it.

    And also, if your above definition of “double jepordy” is what you actually think it means, you REALLY should look it up…

    Scott Jacobs (fa5e57)

  33. Actually Scott, I was claiming that he knew good and well the company was operating in his jurisdiction and that jim2’s hopes that he didn’t were delusionary.

    spongeworthy (9b4e06)

  34. It’s only illegal to withdraw and then redeposit cash if you are doing it to disguise illegal activity. Which Spitzer plainly was.

    spongeworthy (9b4e06)

  35. Phil (#30): if Spitzer is charged for “structuring” under 31 U.S.C. § 5324, it doesn’t matter whether he did or didn’t use the money for sex, and it doesn’t matter whether he had sex. He’s not getting in trouble for using cash to pay for sex.

    Having chosen to take advantage of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation’s insurance protection for his funds deposited in a national bank, Spitzer became subject to Treasury Department regulations requiring that bank to report particular types of transactions to the government. Those regulations are designed to help the government catch money launderers, organized crime operations, terrorists, and other kinds of criminals. Spitzer, as a state DA and then New York Attorney General, prosecuted people caught through the operation of those regulations. Section 5324 makes it a crime to deliberately structure your financial transactions in a way intended to avoid those reporting requirements.

    But if one wants to be a big-time whore-monger and one wants to keep his tens of thousands of dollars in cash in his mattress to pay for that habbit, one need not worry about this particular kind of federal criminal liability.

    Beldar (433d17)

  36. Memory Lane…

    allan (1f54ca)

  37. There are a lot of what seem to me to be strawpersons thrown up (and the phrase seems apt) since I posted.

    The teacher-student comparison seems fatally flawed. The two here do not share the same building other than the Mayflower, there is no implicit power relationship as for teachers and students, there is no implicit age or maturity delta as for teachers and students.

    I’d have to get a lawyer current on the Mann Act to get a sound reading, but IIRC the Mann Act applies to situations where the two parties travel together across state lines. Did that happen here?

    On where the prostitute lives or any of that other stuff, that seems of far less relevance than where the deeds took place and the fact that the business does not have a NY address. Probably he should resign as he may now be unable to govern effectively, but it is less clear to me that the deeds rise to more than that.

    On the serving from prison bleats, are governors not covered by the innocent until proven guilty part of the law? Or, are folk here advocating impeachment should be done when any politician is accused of a felony? If that is the case, the lefties would have had more than ample grounds to impeach the current president a thousand times. After all, they have accused him of far worse than what Spitzer has been accused of, and have done so over and over for going on eight years nbow.

    This is all about to be rendered moot, however, by his resignation.

    jim2 (6482d8)

  38. Judging from his resignation speech today, he ended up on Circumlocution Circle.

    driver (faae10)

  39. I said it looks suspiciously LIKE double jeopardy. I made no legal conclusion as to whether structuring WAS double jeopardy.

    There are plenty of crimes that look suspiciously like double jeopardy — that’s why there are plenty of appeals of convictions based on a double jeopardy challenge.

    Beldar, thanks for the cite. So the “structuring” law is basically a law that says “we get to watch you, and you can’t do anything that might cause us not to watch you, or we’ll put you in jail just for preventing us from watching you.”

    Wonderful . . . so on further examination it’s not so much double jeopardy as just a “big brother” law. Don’t stop big brother from watching, or you will be punished.

    Again, not that I mind it being enforced against Spitzer, since he seemed to have no problem with such laws.

    Phil (6d9f2f)

  40. Yeah, because god forbid they keep an eye out for things like influence peddling and bribery…

    Phil, you yourself have been under that same regulation for, well, quite some time. Assuming you use a federally insured bank (why you wouldn’t I have no idea).

    Scott Jacobs (fa5e57)

  41. NO Jim. The Mann act just deals with crossing interstate borders to promote prostitution. It’s just that USUALLY they use the same car. It doesn’t require it. Bringing her from NY to DC is a violation of that on it’s face.

    Scott Jacobs (fa5e57)

  42. Phil – If you focus as the law as it is written instead of the law as Phil would like it, you would have a much easier time understanding events going on in the world around you.

    daleyrocks (906622)

  43. Not quite moot – the criminal charges aren’t going to disappear because he resigns.

    mojo (8096f2)

  44. Scott –

    Are you a lawyer with case experience on the Mann Act? Or, do you have one on the web that you can point me to with the same or similar elements?

    I’m reluctant to accept your position w/o something more – no reflection on you. For example, he did not “[b]ring her from NY to DC”. Chuck Berry’s prosecution in 1959 stemmed from the young Apache girl coming back with him from Yuma to St. Louis.

    I see a web reference to a 1978 update of the Mann Act on the word “transportation” but don’t yet know much more than that.

    jim2 (6482d8)

  45. Hmmm. Given that–according to the reports in the media–the services in question cost less than $10,000 per go, wouldn’t it be a rather compelling (if less than noble) defense to any charges of structuring to simply point out that the amounts of the withdrawals were clearly *not* intended (at least primarily) as a means of avoiding scrutiny by the feds, but simply reflected how much money he needed to pay the bill at the brothel at any one time? It’s not as if he made twenty separate withdrawals of $5k to pay for a $100k service.

    M. Scott Eiland (b66190)

  46. M. Scott – Sure, but especially less than noble given the laws against prostitution and the reports that he attempted to get his bank to remove his name from money transfers after the fact, further increasing suspicion about the nature of the transactions.

    daleyrocks (906622)

  47. I said it looks suspiciously LIKE double jeopardy.

    See that apple? It looks suspiciously LIKE an orange, doesn’t it?

    Pablo (99243e)

  48. I am curious whether he structured his transactions as a way to avoid reporting them or whether he simply patronized an expensive service that required payments of sub-$10,000 payments.

    I’m still convinced the rub here is in prosecuting some prostitution rackets while patronizing others. Now the DA for the Southern District of NY says he has no deal with Spitzer regarding prosecution. I wouldn’t be surprised if that were because he never intended to prosecute Spitzer at all.

    It looks to me like Spitzer committed a variety of minor transgressions like violating the Mann Act and patronizing whores, which are rarely enforced in these circumstances. That leaves the financial transactions which would only be a violation of money-laundering rules if they were done to avoid A) reporting or B) revealing criminal activity.

    B) would plainly apply here but only as it pertains to patronizing hookers, something law enforcement might be reluctant to pursue. To me, all of it adds up to a tawdry bit of concealment and whore-mongering. The real problem I have is the potential for graft or blackmail when you prosecute Team A for running whores while you patronize the whores of Team B.

    spongeworthy (9b4e06)

  49. Those defending Spitzer must answer a simple question: can New York allow a governor, with the power to direct investigations, and pardon crimes, be involved in an organized crime enterprise?

    If you can say “yes”, then you need to rethink why your thinking processes have become “stuck on stupid”.

    SPQR (26be8b)

  50. I think that almost everyone agrees he’s less than noble at this point–but a structuring charge would be far more likely to get him a prison sentence if it stuck: the fact that he’s caught dead to rights on patronizing the brothel is a done deal at this point, but that generally doesn’t get someone time in the joint.

    If he was trying to get the transactions obscured after the fact, what law (if any) would that violate?

    M. Scott Eiland (b66190)

  51. spongeworthy, see here.

    But in an apparent effort to evade federal regulations requiring that transactions involving $10,000 or more be disclosed to the government, Spitzer broke up the money into a series of smaller transfers on numerous occasions over at least a year, sources said.

    Despite that, Spitzer got worried that he could be tied to the transfers and asked the bank to remove his name from the transactions. The bank reportedly refused, not only because of regulations, but also because the money had already gone out.

    The unidentified bank then notified the Internal Revenue Service, as required by law, that Spitzer had sent more than $10,000 in a way that appeared designed to avoid disclosure requirements, the report said.

    A law-enforcement source told The Post yesterday that financial transactions are “the crux of the investigation” into Spitzer, and that federal probers do not yet know the full extent of his possible chicanery.

    Spitzer’s apparent panic over the wire transfers set in motion a probe that led to the filing of criminal charges last week against people who ran the Emperors Club.

    Pablo (99243e)

  52. I think that almost everyone agrees he’s less than noble at this point

    I think everyone would agree that characterization is a blatant minimization of the situation.

    daleyrocks (906622)

  53. If he was trying to get the transactions obscured after the fact, what law (if any) would that violate?

    It wouldn’t violate any law I know of, but it would be evidence that he’s guilty of structuring. It’s pretty much an admission of guilt.

    Pablo (99243e)

  54. He wires money to QAT Money Laundering Inc. (amount not really relevent), then after the fact tries to get (influence, coerce?) the bank to remove his name from the transaction. Sounds like structuring, and the honest brokers among us won’t ever need to worry about running afoul of this law. Book him, Danno.

    rhodeymark (6797b5)

  55. Pablo, being a banker I’m aware of what triggers this kind of probe. The Feds investigate when it appears someone’s trying to avoid reporting. But just because it appears that way doesn’t mean that’s actually the reason for the size of the transaction. People have good reasons for their patterns of withdrawals that don’t violate the law–businesses are even exempt from reporting if they do a lot of cash business.

    I am not convinced a good case of money laundering exists here. For starters, laundering is trying to integrate illegitimate proceeeds into the system, not trying to make an anonymous payment out of the system.

    spongeworthy (9b4e06)

  56. Structuring is – I believe – a violation of a portion of the law that targets money laundering. In attempting to avoid an action that would be in violation of the law, you break the law.

    That doesn’t sound right as I read it back, but it is basicly what happened.

    To put it another way: Lets say it is illegal to transfer $10,000. I need to transfer $27,000. I break it up into three $9,000 transfers. While I have avoided the $10,000 mark, I have acted in a way to circumvent the law, thus commiting a criminal act (in essence, a conspiracy of one).

    As for the Mann Act (if you have trouble finding it, try looking under the White-Slave Traffic Act of 1910), it originally prohibited white-slavery, but would then come to be used to prosecute anyone who would trasnport females for “immoral purpose” (yeah yeah, “define immoral”, I’m pretty sure cheating on your wife will count).

    I wouldn’t think that transporting someone for the purpose of prostitution doesn’t require you be in the car with them. Paying their way would easily cover that, or so I would assume. You will have, after all, taken the full burden of the cost of said transport.

    Scott Jacobs (fa5e57)

  57. spongeworthy,

    But just because it appears that way doesn’t mean that’s actually the reason for the size of the transaction.

    Right, but when the sender then seeks to have his name removed from the transactions, that indicates his intent to hide the purpose of and his involvement in the transactions. Which tends to hang him on the structuring charge, no?

    Pablo (99243e)

  58. Anyone know if Spitzer extorted a discount from this pimp for not prosecuting them while using their “assets”?

    PCD (5ebd0e)

  59. That, PCD, is an interesting question…

    It won’t get asked, mind you, but it is interesting none-the-less.

    Scott Jacobs (fa5e57)

  60. Emperor’s Exit (New Clothes Optional)

    cfbleachers (4040c7)

  61. Scott –

    In the absence of some Mann Act evidence, your assertion that paying someone to travel sounds the same as transporting someone oneself makes me want to reply the way pablo did in #47.

    jim2 (a9ab88)

  62. Well, he didn’t follow all the correct road signs, but “in the end” he did, in fact, end up on “Responsibility Road.”

    I do feel sorry for the wife and children, though.

    509th Bob (dfa1f1)

  63. What “Mann Act” evidence would you like? A copy of the law?

    I point you to the following:

    B. Transportation

    17. Providing transportation Furnishing money to accomplicewith which to pay transportation of girls in interstate commerceto become inmates of house of prostitution, and with which moneysuch transportation was furnished, was violation of predecessorto 18 USCS @ 2421; but furnishing of cab fare for such girlsfrom railroad station in destination town to house ofprostitution in such town did not constitute violation; suchtransportation being intrastate. Hietler v United States (1917,CA7 Ill) 244 F 140. It was sufficient in prosecution for violation of predecessorto 18 USCS @ 2421 if transportation was by automobile operatedand controlled by accused. Gowling v United States (1920, CA9Cal) 269 F 215.

    So. There you go. Providing the money to travel (excluing cab fair, how kind to allow me to give the whore fare to the train station) is a violation of the Mann Act.

    Next complaint?

    Scott Jacobs (fa5e57)

  64. Scott –

    So where did she “become inmate[] of [a] house of prostitution”? Expect a libel suit from The Mayflower Hotel.

    And, how did Spitzer meet the test “if transportation was by automobile operated and controlled by accused”?

    jim2 (6482d8)

  65. jim2, you are confused, the line about an automobile is not the only definition of transport.

    SPQR (26be8b)

  66. I don’t know, Pablo. And even though he tried after the fact to remove his name from the transaction, he wasn’t able to. What law does that violate?

    As a banker, I can tell you that would definitely trigger a Suspicious Activity Report but a lot of those don’t result in any action because there wasn’t any criminal intent or any crime.

    Making anonymous transactions can’t be a crime or EBay would be out of business.

    spongeworthy (9b4e06)

  67. And even though he tried after the fact to remove his name from the transaction, he wasn’t able to. What law does that violate?

    That itself isn’t the crime. You’re missing the forrest for the trees here. The act is further evidence of his attempt to conceal transactions. Since Structuring requires intent, his actions hurt him greatly. Hard to argue you weren’t trying to hide something when you desperately try to get your name taken off something…

    Scott Jacobs (fa5e57)

  68. Making anonymous transactions can’t be a crime or EBay would be out of business.

    If you think PayPal is anonymous, I have some bad news…

    Scott Jacobs (fa5e57)

  69. So where did she “become inmate[] of [a] house of prostitution”? Expect a libel suit from The Mayflower Hotel.

    Are you trying to be dense?

    a “house of prostitution” is the brothel, not the motel. She worked for a virtual cat-house. She was a known whore (known to Spitzer, at least).

    If I REALLY miss my girlfriend, and buy her a plane ticket to come see me, both of us knowing we’d be “busy” once she got here, that’s not a violation of the Mann Act. If I contact a hooker in Indiana, and buy her a bus ticket (big spender, me) to come to Illinois, THAT is a violation.

    The part about “if transportation was by automobile operated and controlled by accused” doesn’t limit it to cars only, but saying that “Driving her yourself is still a crime, not just paying someone else to drive her”.

    Further in 18 is the following:

    It was not necessary that defendant actually transportedwoman himself or that he procured tickets, but it was sufficientif defendant caused to betransported or aided or assisted inobtaining transportation in violation of 18 USCS @ 2421.

    He didn’t have to drive her himself, or have even booked the tickets himself (nor even have someone else like an aide do it). Helping her get the tickets – by giving the funds for her to buy them, for example – is enough.

    So not only would I break the law by driving the above mentioned hooker from Indiana to Illinois myself, or by having an aide (when did I get an aide? Never you mind) drive her, nor do I even have to buy her the bus ticket myself. Sending her money to buy the ticket (I would assume that also paying a “travel fee” would trigger a violation as it would be money with the purpose of arranging transportation) is enough.

    Are you starting to see the issue here? Are you begining to grasp the law he violated, and HOW he violated it?

    Scott Jacobs (fa5e57)

  70. A couple of comments/questions:

    Perhaps the owners of the Emperors Club required the client to pay all transportation charges in order to maximize profit and to avoid Mann Act liability.

    I read with interest everyone’s comments, especially those by Pablo and Spongeworthy about cash reporting transactions. You both make sense even though you come to different conclusions. However, I’m having a problem thinking through the cash reporting issue. Here’s my problem: Let’s assume Spitzer paid $4,000 a tryst and “only” spent a total of $80,000 over a 5-6 year period. That breaks down to approximately $12,000 a year or, at most, $1,000 a month. Wealthy individuals like Spitzer could easily withdraw and/or deposit 2-3 times that much cash without raising eyebrows.

    This leads me to wonder if there isn’t more money involved that would explain the CTR/STR trigger. Alternatively, Spitzer’s effort to meddle with specific transactions triggered an investigation and, if so, I want to know more about those transactions. Finally, I guess we can’t rule out that public figures who may be subject to bribes receive heightened scrutiny.

    DRJ (a431ca)

  71. DRJ,

    Apparently he would often overpay, or send money without getting a “service”, and he had a credit on his account. Perhaps her “overpaid” so he wouldn’t SO many transactions…

    As for “making the client pay”, I would argue (and I think I could do it as a lay person successfully) that “Evidence that defendantknowingly induced and procured interstate transportation of girlby definite promises and enticements” could also be read to include the act of getting ANYONE to pay for the hoe’s transportation. It would be a form of enducement, I would think.

    The smarter thing would be to never mention travel in any way, and simply build it into the cost of a night.

    Scott Jacobs (fa5e57)

  72. Also, I’m trying to find the affadavit regarding the Over $10,000 wire transfer he broke up into (I think it was) three small, under the limit transactions. Those smaller transfers are the ones he tried to get his name removed from after the fact, and appear to have been the investigatory trigger.

    Scott Jacobs (fa5e57)

  73. Highway to Hell.

    Millions of New Yorkers (f3a7be)

  74. Providing transportation Furnishing money to accomplice with which to pay transportation of girls in interstate commerce to become inmates of house of prostitution

    As I read the act, it appears to be prohibiting the paying for transportation of women who are not yet “inmate[s] of a house of prostitution” but will become so when they arrive. In other words, luring innocents into prostitution, and paying for their transportation there.

    If you pay for transportation for a woman who is already an “inmate of a house of prostitution,” you don’t violate the law. It’s too late for her at that point.

    Phil (6d9f2f)

  75. I understand he overpaid but his credit was apparently minimal — around $500 on February 12 (before his package of cash was received) so I doubt he carried a credit of more than $1-2K at any given time, let alone $8-10K.

    As for pricing with travel, it looked like these call girls were all over the US: NYC, Chicago, LA. Travel could be substantial or next-to-nothing, depending on who was requested and where they were going. I don’t see how they could include that variable in the base price without charging way more than they already did.

    DRJ (a431ca)

  76. Well Phil, when it gets down to brass tacks:

    While states alone can penalize practice of prostitution,debauchery, orother immoral conduct within their respectiveborders, Congress has power under Constitution to forbid suchimmoral practices and conduct through channels of interstatecommerce.

    Crossing state lines for hooking had gotten Spitzer more fucked than I thnk he was hoping. 🙂

    Scott Jacobs (fa5e57)

  77. Scott, if your scenario in #72 is accurate, Spitzer has to be the dumbest MF ever elected. I wasn’t aware he ever broke a 10k+ transaction down but if he did, holy smoke was that dumb.

    spongeworthy (9b4e06)

  78. I don’t see how they could include that variable in the base price without charging way more than they already did.

    *shrugs*

    I dunno how one could stand to bang a hooker in the first place, personally.

    Scott Jacobs (fa5e57)

  79. DRJ, I doubt the bank took into account his status when they filed the SAR. I’m having the same problem you are with the sums here; they don’t seem unusual or substantial enough to trigger an SAR. Unless Scott is right and he did break up a 10k+ transaction, then it had to be the request for anonymity alone that triggered the SAR. As it normally would BTW.

    spongeworthy (9b4e06)

  80. Yeah Sponge. It was a rapid series (maybe all the same day) of wire transfers that together totaled more than $10,000. He then shortly after (how shortly I dunno) franticly tried to get the bank to remove his name from the transfers. They couldn’t because A) that isn’t legal and B) the transfer has already been sent, and you can’t unring that bell.

    His behavior made the folks at the bank think something was up, so they contacted the IRS as required.

    The rest (much like Spitzer’s political carreer outside of DC) is history.

    Scott Jacobs (fa5e57)

  81. From Beldar’s Blog:

    newer press reports suggest that it was actually Spizter’s splitting of more than $10k in wire transfer payments into three smaller pieces that got him onto the feds’ radar screens, and that are the likely basis for the possibility that Spitzer may be charged with “structuring” in a deliberate (and boneheaded, and hugely unsuccessful) attempt to avoid triggering those regulations.

    Scott Jacobs (fa5e57)

  82. Scott,

    I think that question should be asked. If he did that, that is another crime that he should face a judge for, and I believe a FELONY.

    PCD (5ebd0e)

  83. Yeah. It’s called “Structuring”.

    The list of things he’s done that’s illegal here are epic…

    Scott Jacobs (fa5e57)

  84. It sounds like he goofed up one transaction and brought down the whole house of cards. I’m surprised he didn’t have a heart attack when he realized what he had done, since he more than anyone had to realize what would happen next.

    If this goes like most cases, he will enter a sex-addict treatment program as a part of his plea bargain, followed by an appearance on Oprah and a tell-all book.

    DRJ (a431ca)

  85. I dunno how one could stand to bang a hooker in the first place, personally.

    Actually, that’s one of the salient selling points…the impersonal part.

    allan (1f54ca)

  86. Scott –

    My previous posts were based on summary statements concerning the Mann Act, including some in yours and others’ posts.

    I skipped lunch to read pages and pages of the enforcement history and precedent cases involving the Mann Act.

    I agree now that if Spitzer knew the prostitute had to cross state lines to get to the Mayflower, it sure looks like it fits one or more of the precedents. It does NOT seem to fit the original intent of the Act, nor many of its earlier cases. However, it does fit pretty well some of the later ones (esp one in, I think, 1959).

    jim2 (6482d8)

  87. Yeah, but Allan…

    It isn’t that I don’t know where they’ve been, it’s that I would have a fairly good idea!

    Apparently teh Emporer’s Club had rules that Spitzer ignored. All fees were supposed to be pair upfront via wire-transfer, so you could keep them small, and avoid getting caught (even if your name is attached). He preffered to send cash by mail (thus resulting in those txt messages/phone calls with the hooker.

    To think, if only he’d done it the way they wanted it done…

    Scott Jacobs (fa5e57)

  88. Look — I think I can rightfully claim the mantle of the person here most knowledgable with respect to the suspicion of of structuring that started this investigation, and whether the results — to the extent they are known — suggest that Spitzer actually engaged in structuring.

    Structuring is an unusual crime, and its particularly difficult to prove. There are two tricky elements — first you have to prove that the person who engaged in the transactions knew that transactions involving more than $10,000 would trigger a CTR (currency transaction report), and you have to prove that the person broke their transactions up into smaller amounts did so to avoid the $10,000 reporting threshold.

    Second, you have to prove that the person engaged in this conduct KNOWING that doing so — breaking up the transactions to avoid the CTR — was ITSELF a crime.

    You have to prove they did it intentionally to avoid the CTR, and that they did it knowing it was a crime.

    Based on what has been reported so far, I’m not sure there is evidence that Spitzer broke his transctions up for the purpose of avoiding a CTR. There seem to be many reasons here why he did so, not the least of which is that I don’t see anything that required him to pay more than $10,000 for any one episode.

    The STR — Suspicious Transaction Report — is triggered by anything that APPEARS to be dividing up transactions. So, someone that deposits $5000 on Monday, and $5000 on Tuesday — for whatever purpose — might have an STR filed. But it might just be that their business generated $5000 in revenue on Monday and $5000 in revenue on Tuesday, which was the money they deposited.

    Spitzer had multiple transactions over multiple days, each being under $10,000, which would lead investigators to look into why. What they saw were transactions going to shell companies that had no obvious business activities so far as could be determined. So they start looking a little deeper, and they find an escort service.

    Here would be an alternative scenario that would have led the investigation to be ended — suppose Spitzer had agreed with his siblings to set up a family investment trust, and they called it QAT Consultants. All the siblings were going to invest $50,000 each, and one of them was going to be responsible for investing the funds. They register the trust in NY and open an account in its name at a bank. Spitzer then begins to transfer money to that account as it becomes available to him — $5000 here, $3000 there — until he deposits his full share of $50,000.

    Now, his actions might generate an STR by the bank transferring the funds to the account of QAT because of the amounts. But if the IRS or FBI looked into it, they would find an investment trust and that would be the end of the matter.

    But here they found an illegal enterprise, and Spitzer was sending it a lot of money.

    WLS (68fd1f)

  89. Jim2 #86:

    “I skipped lunch to read pages and pages of the enforcement history and precedent cases involving the Mann Act.”

    Now that’s dedication, and I appreciate it. Spitzer’s plight is bad for him and his family but it’s an interesting legal case. The Mann Act is part of what makes it interesting.

    DRJ (a431ca)

  90. WLS,

    Very informative. It’s still hard for me to understand why Spitzer would have tried to get the bank to take his name off aggregated transactions, especially over something so relatively small in amount. He had to have known it would be a problem, but I suppose it’s possible he was so arrogant that he thought the bank would do it as a courtesy to him.

    EDIT: Not that I’ve thought about it, maybe it’s because he knew what would happen that he talked to his bank about the transactions. Maybe he was desperate to stop the investigation he knew would occur. If so, I wonder if he did anything else to try to stop the investigation?

    DRJ (a431ca)

  91. WLS,

    But once it was determined that the shells were dumping into a “Virtual House if Ill Repute”, wouldn’t that lead one to suspect the payments were broken up to avoid a CTR?

    Scott Jacobs (fa5e57)

  92. Scott — not unless there is some way to prove that the arrangement with the operators required one or more payments in an amount greater than $10,000 and he engaged in multiple transactions to break that amount down into smaller pieces to avoid the CTR.

    So far as I can tell, nothing suggests he ever had to pay them $10,000+ for any given session. The session referenced in the affidavit seems to be around $3600, with the additional $700 being a “deposit” for the next time. The context for the need for the deposit seems to be that he had to pay upfont the money for travel expenses, and then pay for the sex when she arrived at his location. That’s why they kept waiting for his “deposit” to arrive and wouldn’t commit to “Kristen” going to DC to meet him until the deposit arrived.

    That’s why they arranged for him to pay “Kristen” the additional amount — so that he would have “credit” for the next session which would pay for travel expenses, and they wouldn’t have to go through the “has the deposit arrived yet” uncertainty again.

    But, I don’t see evidence of any single episode that required him to send them more than $10,000.

    WLS (68fd1f)

  93. Wouldn’t going back after the fact to try to delete the identity information from the payments tend to show that the payments *weren’t* being structured at the time they were made, rather than the other way around? If you’re intending to conceal payments, aren’t you going to take care of the whole “no identification, please” thing up front? In other words, does the statute make attempted retroactive concealment of identifying information on payments illegal?

    M. Scott Eiland (b66190)

  94. M.Scott — that whole thing might be considered “consciousness of guilt”, but I doubt it. Its not possible to wire transfer funds without your name appearing on the transaction, so it was stupid of Spitzer to even ask.

    As for structuring, the only thing that matters is whether the transactions were broken up into sub-$10,000 units for the express purpose of avoiding the bank’s obligation to file a CTR. Whether you wanted it to be anonymous or not is really a non-issue, though the fact that you asked raised the chances that the bank might file a STR (Suspicious Transaction Report).

    WLS (68fd1f)

  95. WLS – I am curious what the chances are that the prositution rings that he previously prosecuted will file some kind of after-the-fact appeal that they were selectively prosecuted. Since he apparently was a client of one of their competitors, does that not suggest that he actively turned a blind eye to the criminal activities of himself and Emperor, while simultaneously prosecuting others for the exact same thing. That obviously does not excuse their criminal actions, but obviously does bring into question the credibility of the person prosecuting them.

    JD (626b4c)

  96. So who got the virtual Pat pat on the head for funniest street name? There were some pretty good entries. Or was that a virtual contest? I am such a sucker for that kind of thing. But only a virtual sucker, mind you.

    allan (1f54ca)

  97. Judging by the way his soon-to-be ex-wife was glaring at him, I think that El Steamroller was at the corner of Ohhellthisoneisgoingtocostme and DidjaseethatassthatIwasridingbareback?

    JD (626b4c)


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