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    Monday, March 10, 2008

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    CNN - Affidavit: Spitzer met with prostitute 'Kristen'

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    Affidavit: Spitzer met with prostitute 'Kristen'

    Federal prosecutors have unsealed a 47-page affidavit that details a nearly 2½-hour rendezvous that took place in a Washington hotel room last month between New York's Gov. Eliot Spitzer and a prostitute.

    The affidavit does not mention Spitzer by name, but a source with knowledge of the case said the subject identified as Client 9 is the governor.

    The prostitute, identified only as "Kristen" worked for the Emperors Club, which charged between $1,000 and $5,500 an hour and operated in New York; Los Angeles, California; Miami, Florida; London, England; and Paris, France, according to court papers.

    According to the affidavit, defendant Temeka Rachelle Lewis -- who is accused of working as a booking agent for the club -- wrote a text message Monday, February 11, asking the operation's day-to-day organizer to "pls let me know if (Client 9's) 'package' arrives 2mrw. Appt wd be on Wed." Prosecutors say the message was a reference to a deposit.

    On Tuesday, according to the affidavit, Lewis sent a message to Kristen, saying Client 9's deposit had not arrived but she should be able to "do the trip" if it arrived the next day.

    In a later conversation, Lewis and Kristen discussed when the prostitute could take a train from New York's Penn Station to Washington's Union Station, the affidavit says. Client 9 would be "paying for everything -- train tickets, cab fare from the hotel and back, mini bar or room service, travel time, and hotel."

    The affidavit says that, about 5 p.m. Tuesday, February 12, Lewis spoke with Client 9 on the telephone and told him that his "package arrived today." The client asked Lewis whom he would be meeting and, when told it was Kristen, said, "Great, OK, wonderful."

    The two discussed how the woman would get a key to his room for a Wednesday rendezvous and how they could arrange credit for future services.

    "Client 9 asked Lewis to remind him what Kristen looked like and Lewis said that she was an American, petite, very pretty brunette, 5 feet 5 inches and 105 pounds," the affidavit reads.

    In a call to Lewis, Client 9 was told the balance would be $2,712.41, but Lewis suggested he give Kristen $1,500 or $2,000 more so that he would have a credit.

    According to the affidavit, Kristen called Lewis about 9:32 p.m. Wednesday, February 13, and told her she was in Client 9's room -- number 871 -- at the Washington hotel.

    Four minutes later, Client 9 was in the hotel, Lewis told Kristen in another call.

    No more calls were logged until 12:02 a.m. Thursday -- Valentine's Day -- nearly 2½ hours later. At that time, Kristen told Lewis Client 9 had left and she had collected $4,300.

    Lewis told the prostitute she'd been told that Client 9 "would ask you to do things that, like, you might not think are safe -- you know -- I mean that ... very basic things," the affidavit says.

    Kristen told Lewis, "I have a way of dealing with that. ... I'd be like, listen dude, you really want the sex?"

    "I don't think he's difficult," Kristen is quoted as saying. "I mean it's just kind of like ... whatever ... I'm here for a purpose. I know what my purpose is. I am not a ... moron, you know what I mean."

    Spitzer, who has not been charged, went before reporters Monday to confess to an undisclosed personal indiscretion, saying he had acted "in a way that violates my obligations to my family, that violates my or any sense of right and wrong." Watch Spitzer's apology

    He did not deny the allegations, which were first revealed Monday in the New York Times, nor did he take questions.

    Spitzer is married with three children.

    His alleged involvement with the ring was caught on a federal wiretap, the source said.

    Spitzer, who built his career on rooting out public corruption as New York attorney general, became a national figure with a series of high-profile Wall Street investigations. He is also known for prosecuting prostitution rings.

    Now his lawyers may be questioned about how he paid for the alleged hotel encounter, whether the trail was concealed and whether any banking laws were circumvented as a result, the source said.

    The investigation into the Emperor's Club, which began in October 2007, included evidence from a confidential source identified in court papers as a prostitute who worked at the club in 2006 and was given immunity. That is according to statements from an undercover officer who posed as a customer, more than 5,000 intercepted phone calls and text messages, more than 6,000 e-mails recovered with search warrants, bank records, travel and hotel records and physical surveillance.

    Despite the high cost of the club's services, the job was not alluring to one potential employee, who sent an e-mail to the club's management January 28 after speaking to a friend who was working for the agency.

    "I wasn't very happy to find out that it's only 500 ph + over 50% commission fees ... This is the kind of money I make very easily in photo shoots and the reason I wanted to join your site [was] to make an extra money."

    She added, The other think (sic) I was a little bit shock and confuse that she had a sex with him twice in an hour and without her taking her out for dinner before. ... So I am very sorry I don't think this is my kind of thing."

    People who know Spitzer were surprised by the allegations.

    "To say this is a shock is an understatement," said CNN senior legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin, who went to law school with Spitzer.

    Toobin called Spitzer "the straightest arrow I know."

    "I think there's no question if he is involved -- and I'm not saying he is, because we don't know all the facts -- I would say he'd have to resign," said James Tedisco, the Republican minority leader in the state Assembly.

    Tedisco said that Spitzer's push to reform government "loses all validity if he was involved in something illegal like that."

    The Republican Governors Association called on Spitzer, a Democrat, to resign to "allow the people of New York to pursue honest leadership."

    "The American people are tired of corrupt and hypocritical politicians. The governor of New York is just another in the long list of politicians that have failed their constituents," said Nick Ayers, executive director of the Governors Association.

    Spitzer's office, the U.S. Attorney's office in New York and New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg all declined to comment.

    Spitzer, 48, served as New York's attorney general for eight years before being elected governor.

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    After Spitzer, first black governor in New York history on deck

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    the future

    After Spitzer, first black governor in New York history on deck

    Associated Press Writer

    March 10 2008

    ALBANY, N.Y. -- Less than two years after he reluctantly ran for lieutenant governor, David Paterson is suddenly in line to be just the eighth black governor in American history, the first in New York.

    The complete article can be viewed at:,0,3249399.story

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    Obama for VP?

    Clinton_Obama ticket?

    Reuters - Obama dismisses joint ticket with Clinton

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    Obama dismisses joint ticket with Clinton

    Monday, Mar 10, 2008 8:24PM UTC

    By Caren Bohan

    COLUMBUS, Mississippi (Reuters) - Barack Obama on Monday ridiculed rival Hillary Clinton's repeated hints she would take him for the No. 2 spot on her presidential ticket, accusing her of playing political games in their hard-fought Democratic nominating race.

    Obama, campaigning in Mississippi ahead of the state's contest on Tuesday, said he has won more states than Clinton and is leading in delegates who will decide the Democratic candidate to face Republican John McCain in November.

    "I don't know how somebody who is in second place is offering the vice presidency to somebody who is in first place," Obama, an Illinois senator, told supporters. The crowd booed when he mentioned Hillary's idea.

    "I'm not running for vice president. I am running for president of the United States of America," Obama added. "I am running to be commander in chief."

    Obama said the former first lady was playing a political game, denigrating his abilities at the same time she promoted the idea of placing him in a secondary role.

    "I do not believe Senator Clinton is about change because in fact this kind of gamesmanship -- talking about me as vice president, but maybe he's not ready for commander in chief -- that's exactly the kind of double-speak, double-talk that Washington is very good at," he said.

    Clinton, who would be the first woman U.S. president, has raised the idea of a joint ticket with Obama several times since she saved her campaign with big wins in three of four contests last week, including the states of Ohio and Texas.

    In raising the idea, analysts said, Clinton is attempting to talk up with voters her spot on the top of the joint ticket even though even though she lags behind Obama in the close race for the party's nomination.

    As she continued to hammer him as unready for the Oval Office and too inexperienced to handle the task of commander in chief, her campaign on Monday lined up former military officers to question Obama's national security credentials .

    Obama took note of Clinton's repeated attacks and said the vice president's primary role would be to take over if the president died or was incapacitated.

    "If I'm not ready, how is it that you think I would be such a great vice president? Do you understand that?" he asked.

    Asked about the contradiction of touting Obama as a vice presidential candidate while condemning his ability to lead, Clinton spokesman Howard Wolfson implied there was still time for Obama to prove himself before the August Democratic Partyconvention in Denver.


    "We do not believe Senator Obama has passed the commander in chief test. But there is a long way to go between now and Denver," Wolfson told reporters in a conference call.

    Obama, who would be the first black U.S. president, is heavily favored in Tuesday's Mississippi contest, the next showdown in his back-and-forth duel with Clinton, a New York senator.

    Black voters, who have backed Obama heavily, are likely to account for more than half of the Democratic primary turnout on Tuesday.

    Obama hopes to add to his almost insurmountable lead in pledged delegates who will help decide the nominee. Mississippi has 33 pledged delegates at stake.

    Neither Obama nor Clinton is likely to reach the 2,025 delegates needed to clinch the nomination without help from nearly 800 "superdelegates" -- party officials and insiders free to back any candidate.

    The states of Michigan and Florida, which were stripped of their delegates in a dispute with the national party and held unsanctioned contests, also could figure in a final resolution to the tight race.

    Officials in both states have discussed redoing their contests so they would produce delegates to the convention, but the candidates, the state parties and national party would have to agree on the timing, funding and formats.

    State and national party leaders showed interest on Sunday during appearances on television talk shows in possibly redoing the votes by mail, a less expensive way to conduct new contests that would count the delegates in each state.

    The next big showdown after Mississippi will be in Pennsylvania on April 22. Clinton will campaign in the state later in the day.

    (Writing by John Whitesides; Editing by Jackie Frank)

    (For more about the U.S. political campaign, visit Reuters "Tales from the Trail: 2008" online at


    CNN - Sources: Spitzer under prostitution investigation

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    Sources: Spitzer under prostitution investigation

    New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer is under investigation for allegedly meeting with a prostitute in a Washington hotel, two sources with knowledge of the investigation tell CNN.

    One of the sources said Spitzer is identified in a criminal complaint as "Client-9," and that Spitzer's alleged involvement was caught on a federal wiretap.

    The criminal complaint involved an alleged high-end prostitution ring run out of New York. Four individuals were charged last week with allegedly running it.

    Prosecutors say the ring provided prostitutes costing as much as $3,100 an hour. The criminal complaint did not name any customers, but authorities did intercept text messages, e-mails and telephone calls.

    Spitzer on Monday said he "acted in way that violates his obligation to his family," without elaborating or taking questions.

    His statement came hours after the New York Times reported he told senior administration officials he had been involved in a prostitution ring.

    "I apologize first and most importantly to my family. I apologize to the public, to whom I promised better," he said.

    "I am disappointed that I failed to live up to the standard I expected of myself," he said. Watch Spitzer's apology

    Before the news conference, three Democratic sources told CNN that a top Spitzer aide had told them that the governor would resign. At the news conference, Spitzer declined to respond to questions as to whether he would step down.

    The Times' Web site cited an anonymous administration official and said the New York governor met with his top aides before making his statement.

    "The governor called his senior staff together and told them he wanted to inform them first about a major announcement of a personal nature," a prominent New York Democrat told CNN.

    "To say this is a shock is an understatement," said CNN senior legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin, who went to law school with Spitzer.

    The Republican Governors Association has called on Spitzer to resign to "allow the people of New York to pursue honest leadership."

    "The American people are tired of corrupt and hypocritical politicians. The governor of New York is just another in the long list of politicians that have failed their constituents," Nick Ayers, RGA executive Director, said in a statement.

    Spitzer's office, the U.S. Attorney's office in New York and New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg all declined to comment on Spitzer.

    Spitzer, 48, served as New York's attorney general for eight years before being elected governor.

    Time magazine named him "Crusader of the Year" during his two terms as New York attorney general.

    Tabloids labeled him "Eliot Ness," after the hero in the crime drama "The Untouchables," because of his reputation for rooting out corruption, busting white-collar criminals and tackling organized crime.

    He was also known for prosecuting several prostitution rings.

    He also worked as an assistant district attorney in Manhattan and worked for three New York law firms after receiving his law degree from Harvard.

    The first-term Democrat had been considered a rising star among his party.

    Spitzer is married and has three daughters.

    Reuters - Oil soars to record near $108

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    Oil soars to record near $108

    Monday, Mar 10, 2008 6:38PM UTC

    By Matthew Robinson

    NEW YORK (Reuters) - Oil shot up more than 2 percent on Monday to a record near $108 a barrel, extending a rally led by investors seeking a hedge against the tumbling U.S. dollar and inflation.

    U.S. crude traded up $2.24 to $107.39 a barrel by 1:20 p.m. EDT, off a record $107.85 hit earlier in the session. London Brent crude jumped $1.63 to $104.01.

    Fears of a U.S. recession following the biggest U.S. job losses in five years and strains in the credit market have sunk the dollar and raised expectations the Federal Reserve could cut interest rates again to prop up the economy.

    Speculators have rushed into commodities as a hedge against rising inflation, helping to lift oil to average over $95 so far this year despite signs the faltering U.S. economy is crimping demand in the giant market.

    "What you have seen over the last few months is fantastic strength in a whole range of commodities, all of which together significantly add to inflation and erode real incomes and profits," said Michael Saunders of Citigroup.

    "If it were just oil it would be more manageable, but it's not ... What you are seeing now is far more widespread and therefore more damaging."

    A fall in U.S. crude oil inventories reported in government data released last week and OPEC's decision on Wednesday to hold supplies steady have also boosted prices.

    OPEC President Chakib Khelil was quoted on Monday as saying speculation and political tension would keep prices at triple digits through the year, and some analysts are adjusting their forecasts higher.

    "We certainly do see the balance for the rest of the year averaging $100," said Paul Horsnell of Barclay's Capital.

    "But we are not going to say that it's going to stay above $100 for every single minute of every trading day for the rest of the year."

    Cartel officials insist that speculators are driving up oil prices and that supply and demand fundamentals do not support current levels.

    Khelil said prices could retreat in 2009 with a recovery of the U.S. dollar following the election of a new U.S. president and as fundamentals reassert themselves.

    OPEC will next meet in September, although ministers could confer informally at a conference between consumers and producers in Rome on April 20-22.

    (Additional reporting by Daniel Fineren in London and Fayen Wong in Sydney; Editing by David Gregorio)

    Reuters - NY Gov. Spitzer tied to prostitution ring: NYT

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    NY Gov. Spitzer tied to prostitution ring: NYT

    Monday, Mar 10, 2008 6:30PM UTC

    NEW YORK (Reuters) - New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer has informed his most senior administration officials that he had been involved in a prostitution ring, the New York Times reported on its Web site on Monday, citing an administration official.

    There were no further details of what his involvement may have been.

    Spitzer was due to make an announcement at 2:15 p.m. EDT, the Times said.

    As state attorney general before being elected governor in November 2006, Spitzer was sometimes called the Sheriff of Wall Street for his prominent role in investigating financial cases.

    A Democrat, he entered the governor's office promising reform but soon entered into a conflict with Republican leaders in the state Senate, slowing his agenda.

    He has been married to Silva Wall Spitzer since 1987 and they have three daughters.

    (Reporting by Daniel Trotta; Editing by Eric Walsh)

    CNN - Police seek second 'person of interest' in UNC death

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    Police seek second 'person of interest' in UNC death

    A shadowy figure in the back seat of an SUV in surveillance photos is a second "person of interest" in the slaying of the University of North Carolina student body president, police said Monday.

    Police on Saturday released photos taken by an ATM camera that show a young man driving a sport utility vehicle possibly using one of student Eve Carson's ATM cards in the Chapel Hill area.

    A large, shadowy form appears in the back seat of the vehicle, which police say may been Carson's.

    Carson, 22, was found shot to death early Wednesday in a suburban neighborhood near the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill campus. Her Toyota Highlander was found the next day in another neighborhood to the west, close to where she lived with roommates.

    "We do believe there is a second unidentified male seated in the rear seat," the Chapel Hill Police Department said in a statement. "We have been exploring ways to enhance the quality of this photo in an effort to learn more about this person."

    Police have not identified the pictured driver, who was wearing a hooded sweat shirt and a vintage Houston Astros baseball cap.

    Chapel Hill Police Chief Brian Curran said Saturday that Carson's killing "feels like a random crime."

    The medical examiner told police that there were no injuries to Carson's body besides gunshot wounds and no signs of sexual assault, Curran said.

    On Sunday, more than 1,000 people crowded the First United Methodist Church in Carson's hometown of Athens, Georgia, for her funeral, the Athens Banner-Herald reported.

    The University of North Carolina will hold a memorial service for Carson after students return from this week's spring break, Chancellor James Moeser said in a statement on the school's Web site.

    On Saturday, the school's top-ranked men's basketball team wore reminders of the popular student president on their jerseys as they took on Duke University in Durham, North Carolina. Watch as students remember the slain campus leader

    The North Carolina players wore patches on the jerseys that simply read "Eve," and many of Duke's fans donned small light-blue ribbons as a show of support.

    A moment of silence for Carson also was held before tipoff.

    The UNC-Chapel Hill board of trustees has pledged $25,000 to the Crime Stoppers program in the area for information leading to the arrest of anyone responsible in Carson's slaying. Carson was a student member of the board.

    Reuters - As border tightens, smugglers raise their game

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    As border tightens, smugglers raise their game

    Monday, Mar 10, 2008 2:23PM UTC

    By Tim Gaynor

    NACO, Arizona (Reuters) - When U.S. authorities raised a tall curtain of steel through this tiny Arizona border town to prevent people crossing illegally from Mexico, the smugglers on the south side were ready.

    Using blowtorches and welding gear they burned a rectangular gate in the barrier large enough to drive a truck through, then they sealed it with a padlock to use it at their leisure, border police say.

    As the U.S. government pushes ahead with an unprecedented security buildup along the porous Mexico border in this presidential election year, profit-hungry Mexican drug and human smugglers the length of the line are raising their game.

    Border police are encountering ingenious and often simply brazen attempts to foil security at both the ports of entry and empty spaces along the nearly 2,000 mile (3,200-km) border by human and drug smuggling organizations.

    "The more fencing and the more manpower that they see, the bolder the smugglers are becoming," Border Patrol agent Dove Haber said as she stood by the tall steel wall in Naco, which is patched most days by a busy repair team.

    "Before we had the amount of technology and manpower and infrastructure that we have, they were able to operate with some impunity, and they don't want to see that change."


    Illegal immigration is a hot topic in the United States, and both presumptive Republican presidential nominee Sen. John. McCain and Democratic Party rivals Senators Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton pledge to secure the porous Mexico border.

    The difficulties involved in actually doing so were made clear last week when Ralph Basham, the commissioner of U.S. Customs and Border Protection, said the government might be unable to meet a timetable to gain "operational security" over the border by 2011.

    Ongoing measures to erect 670 miles of new fence on the border are credited with helping to cut arrests to some 870,000 last year from 1.1 million. Nevertheless, smugglers are trying and, in many cases succeeding, in breaching every kind of barrier thrown in their paths.

    Sturdy steel posts have been sunk in the ground in many areas to stop vehicles crossing north, although drug traffickers have responded by building elaborate vehicle ramps to drive cars over the top, border police say.

    "It's like the old show 'The Dukes of Hazzard,' cars flying through the air," said James Jacques, a supervisory Border Patrol in San Diego, Calif.

    Illegal border crossers are also routinely beating pedestrian barriers using ladders tailor-made in clandestine Mexican workshops, border police say, while others have used screwdrivers to try to clamber over new 14-foot tall, steel-mesh barriers designed to deny handholds.

    One such attempt was foiled. "It took the man a while, and by the time he got to the top, we were waiting for him," said Andrew Patterson, a Border Patrol agent in Yuma, Arizona.


    Crossing over the line in remote areas can be straightforward, although the challenge for smugglers and illegal immigrants is to disguise their tracks as they trek north over soft, sandy trails. Here, too, they are proving ever more resourceful, Border Patrol agents say.

    Illegal entrants have long used branches to rub out their tracks -- in an old technique borrowed from the Apaches. Some have turned to gas-powered leaf blowers to thwart agents tracking, or "sign cutting," for them on roads running parallel to the border.

    "One smuggler we caught would cross two, six, ten, 15 people in a group, and every time he crossed a road, he would blow out their 'sign' with the yard blower," Jacques told Reuters in an interview.

    Professional smugglers have for years also wrapped their feet in carpet offcuts or strips of foam to try to slip north without a trace, and have laid boards and ladders to cross dirt roads monitored by the Border Patrol.

    Other scams include smugglers taking their shoes off and hopping rock-to-rock in a bid to leave no tracks; putting their shoes on backward to try to confuse pursuers, and even attaching boards studded with horseshoes to pass as animals.

    "They think it looks like hoofs," agent Haber said of this scam, which proved unsuccessful. "But the stride of an animal and a human are not the same. A horse would be having to take a lot of very, very small steps to look like a human."


    Smugglers are not only adapting to tougher security in the empty spaces of the border, they are using a seemingly endless variety of wiles to try to beat detection as they pass through the ports of entry, some of them new, many of them recycled.

    In addition to special compartments in car tires, gas tanks and door panels to hide drugs, U.S. Customs and Border Protection inspectors at ports of entry in New Mexico and west Texas recently found marijuana submerged in jars of jalapeno pickles, stuffed into mattresses and even hidden in Christmas holiday candles.

    At crossings in California, meanwhile, inspectors in recent years have found a child smuggled inside a sealed papier-mache pinata doll, illegal immigrants crammed inside vehicle seat covers, and, late last month, two Mexican women smuggled in a pickup trucks' engine compartment through Calexico, Calif..

    As controls tighten, criminals slipping over the line have also tried to thwart digital scanners linked to immigration and law enforcement databases by burning off their fingerprints, smearing with them superglue, and even, in the case of one man, having them surgically replaced with skin from their feet.

    "It's an ongoing battle," said CBP spokesman Brian Levin. "I used to say I thought I had seen everything, but there's always something new."

    (Reporting by Tim Gaynor; Editing by Eddie Evans)

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