Call girl in Spitzer downfall unmasked

01:43, Jan 31 2009
"KRISTEN": Ashley Dupre, reportedly the prostitute who led to the downfall of New York Governor Eliot Spitzer.

The call girl who triggered the resignation of New York's governor has been identified as a 22-year-old musician, media reports say.

The prostitute was identified as "Kristen" in court papers, which allege Governor Eliot Spitzer paid about $NZ5000 for her services.

Spitzer is married with three children.

The New York Times reported today that "Kristen" is in fact Ashley Alexandra Dupre, an aspiring R&B singer.

One of her songs is featured on her MySpace page, now swamped by curious Web surfers.

"I am all about my music, and my music is all about me,'' she wrote on the page.

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Dupre told the Times today that she didn't want to be thought of as a "monster". "This has been a very difficult time. It is complicated."

Spitzer resigned today from his position, cutting short a promising career built on hard-hitting investigations of white-collar crime.

As a prosecutor he broke up several prostitution rings.

The Times said she had been born Ashley Youmans but now is known as Ashley Alexandra Dupre, and that she was expected to be a witness in the case against four people charged with operating a prostitution ring called the "Emperor's Club VIP" It said she has not been charged.

New York City's tabloids, citing unnamed sources, reported Spitzer spent up to $US80,000 on prostitutes and investigators were examining whether he used any state money.

The man who once broke up prostitution rings as the state's attorney general faces possible criminal charges related to his use of a prostitution service.

Amid speculation Spitzer was seeking to reach some kind of a deal to avoid or reduce any criminal liability, a federal prosecutor said on Wednesday no such pact had been reached.

"Over the course of my public life I have insisted, I believe correctly, that people, regardless of their position or power, take responsibility for their conduct. I can and will ask no less of myself. For this reason I am resigning from the office of governor," Spitzer said in a grim-faced appearance at his New York City headquarters, with his wife at his side.

His disgrace was cheered by some financial power brokers who resented what they considered his self-righteous ways.

"Wall Street is enjoying he got his comeuppance," said Oppenheimer and Co chief investment strategist Michael Metz.

As attorney general, Spitzer accused insurance companies of bid rigging, sued the former chief executive of the New York Stock Exchange, Richard Grasso, over his pay package, and hounded investment banks over misleading stock recommendations, leading to a $US1.4 billion settlement with 10 of them.

Spitzer made no specific reference to the allegations surrounding him. He had also given no details when he apologized to his family and the public on Monday for what he called a "private matter."

Between the two appearances, he shuttered himself inside his New York City apartment as pressure grew for him to quit.

"He was an icon, a model of integrity, an enforcer of public and private morality, and then you've got this utter hypocrisy," said Douglas Muzzio, professor of political science at Baruch College in New York.

"You can't help but be disillusioned."

Spitzer became governor with nearly 70 per cent of the vote in November 2006 on pledges to clean up state politics. But 70 per cent of New York voters wanted him to quit, according to a WNBC/Marist poll conducted on Tuesday.

His resignation helped resolve the political paralysis that gripped the state capital, Albany, over the past two days. Paterson will become New York's first black governor and the first legally blind governor in US history.

Although prostitution is illegal in most US states, legal experts said Spitzer was unlikely to face charges as a client but could be legally vulnerable over payment methods.

The Times reported that federal authorities were first alerted to the case by a bank that reported its suspicions about the way Spitzer was transferring money.  

- With Reuters

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