Spitzer's fall was so swift that the press barely got around to scrutinizing the tactics of the Department of Justice, quickly dropping the topic as it became yesterday's news. Prosecutors made it clear to the governor's attorney that Spitzer would be more likely to be indicted for a variety of technical financial offenses if he insisted on remaining in office, using the leverage of discretionary criminal charges to bypass the courts and get a resignation. Only one out of ten clients mentioned in the affidavit received particular attention. Client No. 9's sexual predilections and negotiations were described in humiliatingly prurient detail irrelevant to the underlying charges, his identity was leaked, and additional data about the governor's peccadilloes seeped out of the prosecutors' office over the course of the week. Prosecutors, without filing a single official document implicating Spitzer by name, forced him out of office. (In one of the few news stories to explore why the Department of Justice had engaged in extensive labor-intensive surveillance of Spitzer on multiple business trips, officials told the New York Times that they were actually restrained because they didn't try to record the tryst or collect DNA evidence from the hotel room.) . . .
Ted Frank is a resident fellow at AEI.