Everybody Must Get Stoned

by dday

See, there's a very simple explanation for how federal investigators discovered Eliot Spitzer's secret trysts in hotel rooms with prostitutes. They were merely alerted by a series of suspicious financial transactions and thought it was a bribery case and then just stumbled upon the prostitution ring. It's all so very s-

What's this now?

Almost four months before Gov. Eliot Spitzer resigned in a sex scandal, a lawyer for Republican political operative Roger Stone sent a letter to the FBI alleging that Spitzer ''used the services of high-priced call girls'' while in Florida.
The letter, dated Nov. 19, said Miami Beach resident Stone learned the information from ''a social contact in an adult-themed club.'' It offered one potentially identifying detail: The man in question hadn't taken off his calf-length black socks ``during the sex act.''

Stone, known for shutting down the 2000 presidential election recount effort in Miami-Dade County, is a longtime Spitzer nemesis whose political experience ranges from the Nixon White House to Al Sharpton's presidential campaign. His lawyer wrote the letter containing the call-girl allegations after FBI agents had asked to speak to Stone, though he says the FBI did not specify why he was contacted.

''Mr. Stone respectfully declines to meet with you at this time,'' the letter states, before going on to offer ''certain information'' about Spitzer.

''The governor has paid literally tens of thousands of dollars for these services. It is Mr. Stone's understanding that the governor paid not with credit cards or cash but through some pre-arranged transfer,'' the letter said.

So a well-known Republican ratfucker with a history of making threatening phone calls to Spitzer's father in the middle of the night, is contacted by the FBI, in reference to God knows what, and he refuses to talk to them, but through his lawyer he leaks a bit of oppo research he picked up in a sex club, which he's been known to frequent. The Miami FBI apparently TAKES NO FOR AN ANSWER, and may have forwarded the information to the FBI in New York (they would not say whether or not they received the letter). A month later Stone goes on Michael Smerconish's radio show and says unequivocally that "Eliot Spitzer will not serve out his term as governor of the state of New York." A couple months later Spitzer is picked up on a wire and you know the rest. Immediately Stone is interviewed by Newsday, and you can almost smell the smugness.

"I didn't make him go to a prostitution ring," said the most famous and ruthless Republican dirty trickster who still walks the earth. "He did that all on his own."

Stone said that even before I asked if his hand was somehow in Spitzer's latest trouble. I figured, somehow or another, it had to be.

"No comment on that," Stone said. "I will say I knew it was coming. That's why I wasn't too upset about the results of the special election," where a Democrat grabbed a supposedly safe Republican State Senate seat, leaving Democrats just one vote shy of control.

Conversations with Stone often go like that. Always cocky. A little cryptic. Leaving you wondering about more.

Yeah, I'm wondering why some slimy political operative is all but managing federal investigations in the Bush Justice Department.

Scott Horton at Harper's has some more, including this new article from the New York Times.

The Justice Department used some of its most intrusive tactics against Eliot Spitzer, examining his financial records, eavesdropping on his phone calls and tailing him during its criminal investigation of the Emperor’s Club prostitution ring. The scale and intensity of the investigation of Mr. Spitzer, then the governor of New York, seemed on its face to be a departure for the Justice Department, which aggressively investigates allegations of wrongdoing by public officials, but almost never investigates people who pay prostitutes for sex.

A review of recent federal cases shows that federal prosecutors go sparingly after owners and operators of prostitution enterprises, and usually only when millions of dollars are involved or there are aggravating circumstances, like human trafficking or child exploitation. Government lawyers and investigators defend the expenditure of resources on Mr. Spitzer in the Emperor’s Club V.I.P. case as justifiable and necessary since it involved the possibility of criminal wrongdoing by New York’s highest elected official, who had been the state’s top prosecutor.

So the Justice Department, under the direction of Roger Frickin' Stone, at least from the outside, deployed massive resources to capture the bad actions of a sitting Democratic governor, while in the analogous case of the DC Madam they expended no energy entrapping David Vitter or Randall Tobias. And we know the Bush Administration has a history with going after Democratic governors and even putting them in the slammer.

Eliot Spitzer did what he did; there's no getting around that. The selective prosecution and politicization of justice, however, continues to magnify in this case.