Breaking News -New York Governor Eliot Spitzer Resigns

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Spitzer Resigns Effective Monday Amid Links to Prostitution Ring

NEW YORK —  New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer resigned in disgrace Wednesday after getting caught in a call-girl scandal that shattered his corruption-fighting, straight-arrow image, saying: “I cannot allow my private failings to disrupt the people’s work.”

Spitzer will be replaced by Lt. Gov. David Paterson, who becomes New York’s first black governor, effective Monday. Spitzer’s minute-long statement made no mention of whether he had reached a deal with federal prosecutors to avoid charges

For Spitzer’s apology continue here

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Spitzer Aides Say Wife Urging Gov. Not to Resign; Faces Impeachment Threat

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Breaking News —AP Reports N.Y. Gov. Eliot Spitzer Will Resign Effective Monday, March 17 

(And another one bites the dust…flagranny2)

NEW YORK —  The New York Times reports Silda Wall Spitzer is urging her disgraced husband not to resign, according to close aides of the governor. This comes as the chorus grows for him to quit and state Republicans threaten to begin impeachment preceedings if he doesn’t step down in 24 hours.

New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer faced a crescendo of calls for him to step down Tuesday as sources told the Associated Press that Spitzer had paid tens of thousands of dollars as a repeat customer of a high-priced prostitution service.

The Associated Press, quoting unnamed law enforcement officials, said Spitzer’s running tab for the trysts could have been as high as $80,000.

Earlier Tuesday, the New York Post reported that Spitzer has been soliciting prostitutes at least since 2002, according to unnamed sources.

Spitzer is considering resigning, but there are no plans for such an announcement Tuesday, a spokesman in the governor’s office told FOX News. The spokesman also said Spitzer had not yet come to a decision on whether or not to resign.

The latest speculation over the governor’s political future came a day after reports first surfaced that Spitzer allegedly is the person known only as “Client 9” in a federal affidavit about a high-priced prostitution ring that became public last week.

According to the affidavit, Client 9 arranged to meet a prostitute from the Emperors Club VIP sex organization in Washington, D.C., last month. Spitzer’s public schedule shows he visited Washington at the same time.

Amid increasing demands for Spitzer to step down, The Wall Street Journal cited a person close to the governor saying he could resign as soon as Tuesday evening.

New York Republicans will seek to impeach Spitzer if he does not resign within 48 hours, New York Assembly Republican leader James Tedisco told FOX News exclusively. Tedisco, speaking on FOX News’ “Hannity & Colmes,” said: “We believe it is an illegal activity he has been involved with.

“We’re going to give him 24 to 48 hours to do the right thing, and the right thing is to resign because he has been compromised. If that’s not the case … we’re going to ask the speaker to start impeachment proceedings,” Tedisco said Monday night.

A law enforcement official told The Associated Press Tuesday that the governor first came under suspicion because of cash payments from several bank accounts to an account operated by a call-girl ring.

Spitzer was the initial target of the investigation and was tracked using court-ordered wiretaps that appear to have recorded him arranging for a prostitute to meet him at a Washington hotel in mid-February, the official said.

The official spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the investigation.

The scandal surrounding the man who built his political reputation on rooting out corruption stunned the state. Calls for Spitzer’s resignation began immediately and intensified Tuesday, with the New York Daily News, New York Post and Newsday all demanding that he step down.

“Hit the road, John … and make it quick!” read the headline of the Daily News editorial; The Post called him “NY’s naked emperor.”

Spitzer retreated from public view Monday afternoon, after he appeared glassy-eyed with his shellshocked wife, Silda, at his side and apologized to his family and the public, but did not directly acknowledge any involvement with the prostitute.

“I have acted in a way that violates my obligations to my family and violates my — or any — sense of right and wrong,” he said. “I apologize to the public, whom I promised better.”

Spitzer allegedly paid for the call girl to take a train from New York to Washington — a move that opened the transaction up to federal prosecution because she crossed state lines. The governor has not been charged, and prosecutors would not comment on the case. A Spitzer spokesman said the governor has retained a large Manhattan law firm.

To read the full story please click [here]

The following links are included in the article:

Click here to read more on this story from the New York Post.

Video:Click here to watch the clip of Tedisco speaking on ‘Hannity & Colmes.’

Click here to read the transcript of Tedisco’s appearance on ‘Hannity & Colmes.’

Video: Click here to watch Spitzer’s statement.

Click here for photos.

Man Arrested After N.Y. Bank Lets Him Withdraw Millions

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

“What’s in a name”?  Ask Benjamin Lovell that question and he’ll be sure to tell you. 

What would you do if you went to the bank, asked them to check your account and they insisted you had $5 million dollars in your account and was told you could withdraw $2 million dollars.  You try to tell the bank that couldn’t be your account but the bank assures you it is the right account and you could withdraw $2 million dollars.  You withdraw the money and then you are arraigned on grand larceny charges?  Should you or the bank be charged with the crime?……flagranny2

NEW YORK —  A man was charged with withdrawing $2 million from an account after a bank confused him with a man who has the same name.

Benjamin Lovell was arraigned Tuesday on grand larceny charges. The 48-year-old salesman said he tried to tell officials at Commerce Bank in December that he did not have a $5 million account. He says he was told it was his and he could withdraw the money.

Prosecutors said the bank — which advertises itself as America’s Most Convenient Bank — confused Lovell with a Benjamin Lovell who works for a property management company.

The lesser-funded Lovell gave away some of the withdrawn money and blew some of it on gifts, but lost much of it on bad investments, prosecutors said.

The district attorney’s office did not immediately have information on his lawyer. Calls left with Commerce Bank on Wednesday were not immediately returned.

Breaking News-Actor Heath Ledger,age 28, Found Dead in New York City

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Best know for the movie ‘Brokeback Mountain’

NEW YORK —  Actor Heath Ledger was found dead Tuesday at a downtown Manhattan residence in what authorities say is a possible drug-related death, the NYPD said. He was 28.

NYPD spokeswoman Stephanie Jaramillo told FOXNews.com that Ledger was discovered by his housekeeper at his apartment on Broome Street in the Soho section of New York City and was pronounced dead at 3:35 p.m. EST.

Jaramillo declined to comment on the cause of death, saying only that “the investigation is still ongoing.”

But The New York Post reported that Ledger died of a possible drug overdose and his apartment was strewn with pills.  They do say he drugs are prescription drugs.

Ledger had an appointment for a massage at his Manhattan apartment, NYPD spokesman Paul Browne told The Associated Press. The housekeeper went to let Ledger know the masseuse had arrived and found him dead, according to Browne.

The Australian-born actor was nominated for an Oscar for “Brokeback Mountain,” where he met his wife, actress Michelle Williams, in 2005. Ledger and Williams had lived in Brooklyn and had a daughter, Matilda, until they split up last year.

Ledger’s roles include the suicidal son of Billy Bob Thornton in “Monster’s Ball” and had starring roles in “A Knight’s Tale” and “The Patriot.” He was to appear as the Joker this year in “The Dark Night,” a sequel to 2005’s “Batman Begins.”

5:36pm – According to Fox News TV they just stateed that they are still waiting for the medical examiner to arrive.  At this point they don’t expect foul play but are saying that it was possibly an accidental  drug overdose Police are currently surrounding the apartment to keep the crowd away…..flagranny2 

911 Call Played in NYC Sex Assault Trial (assailant disguised in Fire Dept uniform)

By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
Published: May 2, 2007
Filed at 4:56 a.m. ET

NEW YORK (AP) — Through sobs, the victim of a Halloween 2005 sexual assault told a 911 operator how her assailant had used a disguise to get into her apartment and begin a 13-hour attack.

”He banged on the door in a Fire Department uniform,” the victim said, according to a tape of the call played in court Tuesday. ”He said there was a fire outside, but I think he just made that up. I think it was smoke bomb or something.”

Emergency operator Marian Grillo testified about the woman’s call on the morning of Nov. 1, 2005, made after her attacker had left and when she finally escaped her bonds. The victim, weeping and screaming, detailed her night of terror.

”He wanted to kill me!” the victim shouted near the start of her call. Grillo said she urged the woman to calm down, but the caller remained upset — even when police officers arrived at her Manhattan apartment, where the assault took place.

The victim was so rattled by her encounter with the phony firefighter that she refused to let the officers inside until they showed badges and official IDs, testified Jeannia Robinette, the woman’s best friend.

The tape and testimony came during the second day of the trial of freelance journalist Peter Braunstein, who is charged with kidnapping, burglary, sex abuse and robbery. The victim testified on Monday that Braunstein was wearing fireman’s gear, right down to a plastic shield on his face, when he drugged and abused her, starting on the night of Oct. 31, 2005.

The 911 call came two hours after the attacker left her tied to her bed, naked but for a pair of thong underpants and high-heeled sandals he had put on her. The Associated Press is not identifying the woman because she reported being the victim of a sex crime.

On the 911 call, the operator asked whether the man had any weapons.

The victim said he had a knife, a gun and a videocamera, and told Grillo, ”He was taping me while I was naked.”

The woman had been a co-worker of Braunstein’s at Fairchild Publications, publisher of Women’s Wear Daily and W magazine. She testified that he was someone she would see in the hallways occasionally, but they didn’t know one another.

Braunstein has pleaded not guilty, but his lawyers concede that he committed most of the crimes charged. They say he is mentally ill and is unable to form the intent that would make him criminally responsible for the attack.

”This trial is about why it happened,” defense attorney Celia Gordon told the jury in opening remarks.

But Assistant District Attorney Maxine Rosenthal told the jury that Braunstein, who had been fired from his job and dumped by his girlfriend, planned the attack ”out of anger and a need for revenge.”

Rosenthal said he ordered the firefighter’s gear, the BB gun, the knife, a replica Detroit police badge, handcuffs and materials for making smoke bombs from Internet sites weeks before he talked his way into the woman’s apartment.

When he was captured on the University of Memphis campus six weeks after the attack, Braunstein stabbed himself in the neck with a dagger. He was subdued by police with pepper spray and arrested Dec. 16, 2005.

Information source: The New York Times

Report Finds 2,000 of State’s Children Are Sexually Exploited, Many in New York City

I came across this article and although I’m not ignorant of the fact that prostitution exists I was astounded when I read this.  Even after watching Dateline’s “To catch a predator” and knowing that there are men out there seeking to have sex with young girls as if that isn’t sick enough but to read this and how they are out there preying on young victims for sexual exploitation.  How important it is to get the “Safe Harbor Act” passed.   

By CASSI FELDMAN
Published: April 24, 2007 

At first it seemed like an innocent flirtation. Shaneiqua was 12 years old and walking around Brownsville, Brooklyn, when a man pulled up alongside her in a car and called to her from his window.

“He was just, like, ‘You’re cute. I really see myself being with you.’ Stuff like that,” she said.

Shaneiqua had just run away from home and had nowhere to go, so she got into his car. It was a decision that changed her life.

Eventually, she would learn that the man, known as Handsome, was a pimp. In exchange for room and board, she said, he asked her to dance at a strip club and give him her earnings. When that wasn’t enough money, she said, he told her to start taking men into the “VIP room,” trading sex for cash.

Shaneiqua reluctantly agreed. In her mind, she said, it was just part of being in a relationship. “The only thing that really mattered to me was whether he was still going to love me after I slept with other men,” she said. “As long as he said yes, I didn’t really have any problem with it.”

A report released Friday by the New York State Office of Children and Family Services estimates that New York City is home to more than 2,000 sexually exploited children under 18.

The report was based on interviews, focus groups and surveys sent to 159 law enforcement and social service agencies statewide. Westat, a research firm, asked each agency to report its contacts with children identified as “commercially sexually exploited” during a two-month period last year. Then it weighted the data to get an annual estimate. The study excluded victims of child abuse that did not involve a commercial purpose.

The findings suggest that a vast majority of the state’s sexually exploited children are in Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens and the Bronx: an estimated 2,253 in the city versus 399 spread over seven upstate counties.

The report found other differences as well. In New York City, sexually exploited youth tended to be female and black, having sex with strangers in hotel rooms or outside. Upstate, the youth were younger, more likely to be white, and were often exploited at home by adult friends or acquaintances.

At least 85 percent of these youths statewide have had some contact with the child welfare system, mostly through abuse or neglect proceedings. In New York City, 75 percent had been in foster care at some point.

The report was mandated by the State Legislature last year as a way to determine how many children are being sexually exploited and whether they are getting the services they need.

The results could bolster a bill before the Legislature. Sponsored by Assemblyman William Scarborough, a Queens Democrat, the Safe Harbor Act would change the way young people arrested for prostitution are treated under the law. Rather than being charged as juvenile delinquents in Family Court and subject to detention, they would be considered victims of sexual exploitation and provided with counseling, emergency shelter and other services.

“By changing the law, we can begin to change the perception of these children and the perception of their situation,” Mr. Scarborough said. The legislation has widespread support in the Assembly and Senate, where it was sponsored by Dale M. Volker, a Republican from western New York. A companion bill introduced by Assemblyman Jeffrey Dinowitz, a Democrat from the Bronx, would stiffen penalties against pimps and others involved in human trafficking.

At a news conference Friday, supporters of the measures hailed the study as an important step toward quantifying the problem, but they also expressed concerns about how it was conducted.

“It’s not a full picture,” said Mishi Faruqee, director of the Juvenile Justice Project at the Correctional Association of New York and a member of an advisory group that contributed ideas for the study. She said that several agencies failed to turn in their surveys and that the report missed the young people who had yet to be arrested or to seek help. “Many sexually exploited youth aren’t coming into contact with any of these agencies, and those youth weren’t counted,” she said.

Mr. Scarborough credits advocates like Ms. Faruqee and Rachel Lloyd, executive director of Girls Educational and Mentoring Services, or GEMS, with bringing the issue to his attention. Lloyd, a former prostitute herself, started the group in 1999 to help young women who have experienced sexual exploitation and violence.

Shaneiqua, now 19, was one of her clients. When Shaneiqua left her pimp, she went to Family Court and was ordered to attend a treatment program at GEMS, where she now works as a program associate.

GEMS serves about 200 girls a year and provides transitional beds to nine at a time. If the Safe Harbor Act passes, Ms. Lloyd said, she will be able to reach far more.

“We’re no longer talking about teen prostitutes, bad girls,” Ms. Lloyd said last month in Albany at a meeting with legislators. “We’re talking about kids who are being bought and sold by adults.”