Manhattan District Attorney Asks to Be Recused Amid Spitzer Investigation Standstill

Manhattan District Attorney Asks to Be Recused Amid Spitzer Investigation Standstill

The Manhattan district attorney, Cy Vance, has moved to recuse himself from the criminal investigation into (now apparently recanted) allegations that former Governor Eliot Spitzer assaulted a 26-year-old woman he was with at the Plaza Hotel Saturday, the New York Times reports. The investigation has reached a “standstill,” police said.…

The formal request to transfer the case to the district attorney’s office in another borough had not yet been granted on Wednesday. From the Times:


Officials in Mr. Vance’s office said the ties between the former governor and the office were too close to erase doubts about impartiality. Some of Mr. Vance’s top aides, including his deputy chief of staff and his executive assistant, were top aides to Mr. Spitzer when he was governor. Mr. Spitzer’s daughter also worked for the office as a paralegal.

Beyond those connections, Mr. Spitzer has had a long relationship with the office itself, having started his career there as a prosecutor in 1986. The former governor was also a political ally of Mr. Vance, both Democrats. In 2009, for instance, he appointed Mr. Vance to the New York State Commission on Sentencing Reform.

The woman Spitzer was with, Svetlana Travis, decided not to press charges before returning to Russia on Saturday, and subsequently apologized, in an email that Spitzer’s lawyers shared with the Times and the D.A.’s office, for lying about the alleged assault.

Nevertheless, the Times reports, the investigation is ongoing—the NYPD executed search warrants and continues to review phone and computer records related to the case. However, officials said Wednesday that police were at an impasse.

“We are at a standstill now, absent a complainant,” the NYPD’s deputy commissioner of public information, Stephen Davis, said. “If she would change her mind we would have to reconsider, but what we would have to have is her telling us what happened and saying she wants to press charges.”

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