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March 11, 2008
How much legal trouble is Spitzer in?
According to this abcnews story, Spitzer’s involvement with this ring was not uncovered by virtue of some happenstance over-hear on a wiretap involving a prostitution ring. Rather, the feds targeted Spitzer himself based on a suspicious activity report filed by his bank, which noticed him paying large amounts of money in ways that it thought were evidence of criminal conduct. This report says Spitzer is suspected of “structuring” which is the intentional structuring of financial transactions involving cash in amounts less than $10,000 for the purpose of avoiding the filing of “Currency Transaction Reports” with IRS and FBI. They indicted the prostitution ring based on what they uncovered in looking into Spitzer, but the facts suggest to me that Spitzer has received a target letter indicating that he is the target of a federal criminal investigation for his conduct.This is interesting because a legal expert appearing yesterday on Fox News said basically the same thing. And the reason Spitzer has yet to resign is that one of his major cards to play in bargaining with the feds is his office. Perhaps we will see Spitzer resign when he has a deal in place not to prosecute him for the "structuring" charges - a crime that probably carries a much more stringent penalty than simply violating the Mann Act by facilitating the travel of a prostitute across state lines.
There is general agreement on Wall Street and in New York GOP circles that this couldn't have happened to a nicer guy. To say that Spitzer was despised by Republicans and the targets of his broad brush prosecutions of financial transactions would be an understatement. Much of this animosity was brought on Spitzer by his own declarations of hate of his opponents. For Republicans who have been targets of that hate, Spitzer's downfall is sweet indeed.