Spitzer Spent Up To $80,000 On Call Girls

New York State Gov. Eliot Spitzer makes a statement to reporters during a news conference Monday, March 10, 2008 in New York where he apologized to his family and the public after a report that he was involved in a prostitution ring. AP Photo/Mary Altaffer

Investigators say Eliot Spitzer was clearly a repeat customer who spent tens of thousands of dollars - perhaps as much as $80,000 - with the high-priced prostitution service over an extended period of time.

Spitzer and his family, meanwhile, remained secluded in their Fifth Avenue apartment Tuesday while Republicans began talking impeachment, and few if any fellow Democrats came forward to defend him.

A death watch of sorts began at the state Capitol, where whispers of "What have you heard?" echoed through nearly every hallway of the ornate, 109-year-old building.

And Spitzer announced Wednesday that he is resigning, completing a spectacular fall from power for a politician whose once-promising career imploded amid allegations that he paid thousands of dollars for high-end prostitutes.

"I look at my time as governor with a sense of what might have been," Spitzer said, with his expressionless wife Silda standing at his side. "There is much more to be done, and I cannot allow my private failings to disrupt the people's work."

On Monday, when the scandal broke, prosecutors said in court papers that the Democratic governor had been caught on a wiretap spending $4,300 with the Emperors Club VIP call-girl service, with some of the money going toward a night with a prostitute named Kristen, and the rest as credit toward future trysts. The papers also suggested that Spitzer had done this before.

Speaking on condition of anonymity, a law enforcement official said Tuesday that Spitzer, in fact, had spent tens of thousands of dollars with the Emperors Club. Another official said the amount could be as high as $80,000. But it was not clear over what period of time that was spent.

Still another law enforcement official said investigators found that during the tryst with Kristen on the night before Valentine's Day, Spitzer used two rooms at the Mayflower Hotel in Washington - one for himself, the other for the prostitute. Sometime around 10 p.m., Spitzer sneaked away from his security detail and made his way to the room where she was waiting, the official said.

CBS News has learned the investigation into Spitzer was sparked last summer by a Suspicious Activity Report filed by a financial institution. (Read more on the investigation.)

Insiders on Tuesday said the governor was still trying to decide how to proceed. Options included quitting immediately, or waiting to use resignation as a bargaining chip with federal prosecutors to avoid indictment.

Democrats privately floated another option, telling The Associated Press that Spitzer was considering what was almost unthinkable immediately after Monday's bombshell apology: hanging on.

"If the public is fine, he'll stay," said a Democrat who spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the subject.

Still, Spitzer's many enemies from Albany and Wall Street were emboldened, and some of his friends went from shock to outrage.

"Particularly because of the reform platform on which he was elected governor, his ability to govern the state of New York and execute his duties as governor have been irreparably damaged," said Citizens Union, a good-government group that supported the crusading attorney general for governor in 2006 and provided critical support in his effort to reform Albany. "It is our strong belief that it is now impossible for him to fulfill his responsibilities as governor. Accordingly, Citizens Union urges him to resign as governor."
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