ALBANY, N.Y. - Good-government advocates, Wall Street traders, old prosecutorial foes, Republican legislators and editorial pages across New York have the same message for Gov. Eliot Spitzer: Resign.
Whether he will remained unknown Tuesday, a day after allegations of hiring a high-priced call girl vaporized his crusading, straight-arrow persona. While Spitzer and his family remained huddled in their Fifth Avenue apartment, insiders said the Democrat was still trying to decide how to proceed.
Though it's true politicians have weathered sex scandals before, few were in the former New York attorney general's position of having prosecuted others for involvement in the same sort of conduct he's accused of. In 2004, he took part in an investigation of a New York City escort service that resulted in 18 arrests.
'The whole situation is marked by irony, hypocrisy and self-righteousness,' said Daniel Hochheiser, a defense attorney in another case in which Spitzer accused two men of using their tour company to promote 'sex tourism' in the Philippines and Thailand.
'He prosecuted a couple of little guys who were easy targets when he was running for governor,' Hochheiser said.
Citizens Union, a good-government group that supported Spitzer's 2006 gubernatorial run and his effort to reform Albany, had another reason for wanting him out.
'Particularly because of the reform platform on which he was elected governor, his ability to govern the state of New York and execute his duties as governor have been irreparably damaged,' the group said in a statement.
Republicans began talking impeachment, and few if any fellow Democrats were willing to defend him. A death watch of sorts began at the state Capitol, where whispers of 'What have you heard?' echoed through nearly every hallway of the ornate, 109-year-old building.
Options included quitting as early as Tuesday afternoon, or waiting to use resignation as a bargaining chip with federal prosecutors to avoid indictment.
Democrats privately floated another option, telling The Associated Press that Spitzer was considering what was almost unthinkable immediately after Monday's bombshell apology: hanging on.
'If the public is fine, he'll stay,' said a Democrat who spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the subject.
The scandal erupted Monday, when allegations surfaced that Spitzer, a 48-year-old married man with three teenage daughters, spent thousands of dollars on a call girl named Kristen at a Washington hotel on the night before Valentine's Day.
The case started when banks noticed frequent cash transfers from several accounts and filed suspicious activity reports with the Internal Revenue Service, a law enforcement official told the AP. The accounts were traced back to Spitzer, prompting public corruption investigators to open an inquiry.
The investigation also found evidence that Spitzer was a repeat customer with the Emperors Club VIP, a high-end call-girl service, the official said. In court papers, Spitzer was identified only as 'Client 9,' according to another law enforcement official who also spoke on condition of anonymity because the investigation is still going on.