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“[The Spitzer] investigation increasingly looks like a political hit.” –Scott Horton

Posted by Charles II on March 24, 2008

Thanks to Avedon (via D-Day, via Scott Horton), we learn from Amy Driscoll at the Miami Herald:

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.

As D-Day points out, the FBI then proceeds to behave as Stone’s Stepinfetchit, not even interviewing him to pin down his source of information, as minimal law enforcement procedure would require.

It must take a very strong stomach to work for Bush’s FBI. And a talent for swallowing.

13 Responses to ““[The Spitzer] investigation increasingly looks like a political hit.” –Scott Horton”

  1. Albatross said

    “[The Spitzer] investigation increasingly looks like a political hit.” –Scott Horton

    This message brought to you by the Department of Well, Duh!, who brought you the classic “Dick Cheney is actually in charge.” Look for our upcoming stories, “The passport violations were fishing expeditions,” and “Don Siegelman’s prosecution was politically motivated.”

  2. Michael said

    Stone is presumably fabricating.

  3. Michael said

    Here is some background by Lindsay Beyerstein.

  4. Charles II said

    Wow. Lindsey really covered the waterfront!

    However, I believe that Stone did have information ahead of time about the investigation (it’s on an earlier thread). The letter may be a red herring, but Stone is perverse enough to take glee in bringing down a Democrat.

  5. Michael said

    I’m not sure Stone is an integral part of this story, and he clearly wants the attention. I’m inclined to deny it unless there is corroborating evidence of his account. Really, why should we be repeating his stories?

  6. Charles II said

    Scott Horton puts credence to Stone’s involvement, Michael.

    Let’s label it speculative and move on.

  7. Michael said

    Kirby Sommers:

    A former top aide to Vice President Dick Cheney told a federal grand jury that President George W. Bush authorized him to leak information about Eliot Spitzer’s use of prostitutes from a classified intelligence report to a New York Times reporter. Details of the testimony were included in a court filing made yesterday by Special Counsel Patrick Fitzgerald, who is prosecuting the former aide for perjury, obstruction of justice, and making false statements in connection with the probe into the leaking of Spitzer’s sexual exploits which resulted in the scandalous resignation of the Governor of the State of New York.

    According to Fitzgerald’s filing the aide testified that he provided a New York Times reporter with information from a classified National Intelligence Estimate after being told by Cheney that Bush “specifically had authorized” him to “disclose certain information in the NIE.” The aide also testified that Cheney, upon urging from Senate Majority Leader Joseph Bruno, specifically directed him to seek out the services of Republican dirty trickster Roger Stone.

  8. Charles II said

    So, if we can confirm what that blog says, I guess it’s no longer speculative.


    These guys are so crazy they make psychiatry obsolete.

  9. Michael said

    By no means do I think this has been adequately sourced, though.

  10. MEC said

    Wait. WTF are details of somebody’s use of prostitutes doing in a classified intelligence report? If this testimony is true, then there’s a whole lot worse going on here than taking down a Democratic governor.

  11. That’s exactly it, MEC.

    The timeline is key here. If Roger Stone’s tips came BEFORE the bank first contacted the Feds — which is looking increasingly likely — then things are REALLY hinky.

    Check out looseheadprop’s article on this, focusing on the events at the beginning:

    This time of year we get to celebrate Emptywheel’s birthday. I have wracked my brain about what to get her and finally came up with the perfect thing, a timeline!

    July 2007 – North Fork Bank sends a suspicious activity report (SAR) involving Eliot Spitzer to the Treasury Department. No action is taken by Treasury.

    August 2007 – Roger Stone is approached by federal agents in the wake of the message left on Bernard Spitzer’s voice mail in August, a source with knowledge of the matter said. Stone denies leaving the message and declines to meet with the FBI. It is unclear what information his lawyer gives to the FBI at this time.

    October/Early fall 2007 – HSBC bank sends SARs to Treasury about two shell companies, QAT International and QAT Consulting Group, which triggers an IRS investigation of these companies. In the course of the investigation, the July SAR on Spitzer is rediscovered. It has not yet been publicly reported when in the course of this investigation the Spitzer connection became apparent.

    November 19, 2007 – Roger Stone (a Republican dirty trickster hired by NYS Senate Majority Leader Joe Bruno to fight back against Spitzer when Spitzer accused Bruno of using a NYS plane to fly to fundraising events) has his lawyer sent a letter to the NY field office of the FBI.

    In a Nov. 19 letter, an attorney for Roger Stone, once a consultant to Republican State Senate Majority Leader Joseph Bruno, said Spitzer had spent “tens of thousands” of dollars on prostitutes using prearranged financial transfers.

    “It is also my client’s understanding … that Governor Spitzer did not remove his mid-calf length black socks during the sex act,” wrote attorney Paul Rolf Jensen of Costa Mesa, Calif., to special agents in the FBI’s New York field office. “Perhaps you can use this detail to corroborate Mr. Stone’s information.”

    NB- Although much has been made about allegations that Spitzer tried to structure 3 wire transfers amounting to approximately $10,000 so that none of them would trigger the $10,000 reporting requirement, that is a misstatement of the law. Checks and wire transfers generate their own paper trail and therefore do not trigger a currency transaction report. Even the former officials of the Comptroller of the Currency (who as you will see below has every reason to bury Spitzer) admit as much.

    The requirement to report such large transactions applies only to currency transactions — “the coin and paper money of the United States” — not to wire transactions of the sort that Mr. Spitzer allegedly made, Mr. Serino said.

    January 8, 2008 – SDNY Judge Haight issues a wiretap warrant to intercept calls to and from the Emperor’s club.

    January 23, 2008 – SDNY Judge Sand extends the warrant to cover an additional phone number.

    January 25, 2008 – SDNY magistrate Judge Gorenstein issues warrants to obtain email messages.

    February 7, 2008 – The wiretap warrant expires.

    February 11, 2008 – The wiretap warrant is renewed by SDNY Judge Lynch.

    February 11, 2008 around 11PM – [Warning: very long pdf] One of the Emperor’s Club managers sent a text message to another Emperor’s club manager asking if client 9’s package had arrived in the mail. It is unlikely that this text message, even if it mentioned Spitzer by name, is the reason Judge Lynch renewed the wiretap warrant as he was likely home for the day at that hour.

    February 12, 2008 – [long pdf] Much texting among Emperor’s Club managers about the impending arrival of Client 9’s payment.

    February 13, 2008 – [long pdf] “Kristen” travels to DC for appointment with Spitzer.

    February 14, 2008 right after midnight – [long pdf] “Kristen” calls one of the Emperor’s Club managers and they engage in a conversation that, at least on the manager’s side of it, appears to be scripted to include as many humiliating details as possible.

    February 14, 2008 – Eliot Spitzer publishes an Op-Ed in the Washington Post excoriating Bushco for enabling and protecting banks that engage in predatory lending practices and using the office of the Comptroller of the Currency to block the efforts of State Attorneys General form all 50 states to protect their citizens from these predatory lenders. It was titled :
    Predatory Lenders’ Partner in Crime
    How the Bush Administration Stopped the States From Stepping In to Help Consumers

    You should read it.

    Question: How long before Feb. 14 did Spitzer turn in his draft to WaPo? And did WaPo leak its contents to ….. anyone?

    Ask Joe Wilson what happens to people who write Op-Eds accusing Bushco of wrongdoing.

    March 4, 2008 – Spitzer introduces a bill to make it more difficult for banks to foreclose on mortgages and to crack down on some predatory lending practices. It would be a bill that any NYS legislator would find difficult to publicly oppose.

  12. MEC said

    Umm, wait…. Note to self, read more slowly and carefully.

    That Kirby Sommers blog post is “prediction”, not fact. There is no investigation into the leaking of the info from the investigation of Eliot Spitzer. There is no evidence of information about Spitzer being included in any NIE.

    Damn. It was much too easy to believe that a Bushevik “intelligence briefing” would consist of information that could be used against Democrats.

  13. Charles II said

    Hm. Well, I am pretty sure that we made that prediction a long time before Kirby. It’s not a long way from feeling justifiable fear of mass wiretapping to suspecting a Bushco-engineered sex scandal.

    She really should label things more clearly. Though I guess likening herself to Suze Orman is labeling of a kind.

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