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March 11, 2008

Should being a good tipper get Spitzer a sentencing break?

The blogosphere is buzzing about all thing Spitzer, with TalkLeft providing the latest news and Sex Crimes providing a great round-up of commentary.  This ABC News story has an array of notable information and comment:

A 22-year-old escort found on another call-girl Web site claimed to ABC News in a phone interview that Gov. Eliot Spitzer had been one of her customers two years ago when he was New York attorney general and that he was a nice guy who tipped well....

Federal investigators say there is no evidence Spitzer used state money or campaign funds to pay the prostitutes, but that the way he moved an estimated $40,000 through various accounts violated federal money laundering laws. "These are serious laws and laws that given the amount of money involved here could mean a prison term of 10 to 18 months," Sean O'Shea, a former federal prosecutor specializing in financial crimes, said.

A prison term is one of the issues holding up the governor's resignation as well as whether or not he pleads guilty to criminal charges.

I wonder if being a good tipper would be considered a valid mitigating sentencing factor under 3553(a).  Probably so in the Second Circuit, but maybe not if the feds figure out a way to charge him in the Fourth Circuit.

Meanwhile Harlan Protass looks at criminal justice realities a bit more seriously here at Slate, in a piece tiled "How To Prosecute Eliot Spitzer."

March 11, 2008 at 10:31 PM | Permalink

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