Apologising for his public involvement in a private matter and saying he doesn’t want his personal life to take time away from the people of New York, Democratic Governor Eliot Spitzer resigned this morning, saying Lt. Governor David Paterson will take over the post effective Monday.

Spitzer has been tied to a prostitution ring after a federal investigation revealed he was recorded on a wiretap arranging to meet with a prostitute.

Identified as Client 9 at the Emperors Club VIP escort service, Spitzer was recorded confirming plans to fly a prostitute from New York to Washington to meet him at a hotel.

According to the New York Times, court documents stated Client 9 arranged to meet with an Emperors Club VIP prostitute on February 13th in Washington, DC.

Spitzer is believed to have stayed at the Mayflower Hotel that evening, though the hotel room named in the court documents was registered under a different name.

He informed his aides on Sunday of his involvement in the prostitution ring.

The Emperors Club VIP web site, which has now been taken down, showed hourly rates for displayed women up to $5,500 (£2,750) an hour.

The specific woman who is reported to have met with Spitzer has not been identified.

During his term as attorney general in New York, Spitzer spearheaded the prosecution of at least two prostitution rings, according to the Times.

He was named “Crusader of the Year” by Time magazine for his efforts to stomp out corruption on Wall Street and fight organised crime.

Spitzer, who has long been an advocate for equal marriage rights for gays and backed a gay marriage bill in the New York legislature, is married and has three children.

During his 2006 campaign he said:

“No New Yorker should be deprived of the right to marry the person of their choice, regardless of gender.

“This is not about forcing any religion to perform or recognise gay marriage. It’s simply about permitting gay and lesbian couples the right to live in stable, long-term married relationships.”

Federal prosecutors in Manhattan have filed charges against four people in the prostitution ring case.

It is unknown at this time whether Spitzer will face any charges regarding his involvement, though analysts suspect a deal had been struck prior to Spitzer announcing his resignation.

Ross von Metzke and Ann Turner

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