New York governor told to quit

Republicans in the state assembly gave Mr Spitzer 48 hours to quit, insisting that the governor, who could face federal charges over the alleged transgression, was not fit for office.

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Monday's revelations came as a dramatic fall from grace for Spitzer, a Hillary Clinton ally once considered presidential material and known as “Mr Clean” for taking down organised crime and tackling Wall Street corruption.

Governor Spitzer, 48, indicated on Monday he did not intend to step down, at least not immediately, calling the scandal “a private matter.”

Appearing alongside his wife of more than 20 years, Mr Spitzer apologised for his behaviour but failed to make any specific admissions.

But according to the New York Times, Gov Spitzer was encamped in his Manhattan apartment all Tuesday surrounded by advisors mulling a possible resignation.

Discussion over Spitzer's successor

In the state capital Albany, succession talks were reportedly going ahead to ensure a smooth transition to Lieutenant Governor David Paterson, who could become New York's first black governor and the first blind US governor.

US newspapers were already writing Gov Spitzer's political obituary as James Tedisco, the minority leader of the state assembly, told CNN he would introduce impeachment proceedings unless Mr Spitzer stepped down within 24 to 48 hours.

“We are preparing the resolution and the paperwork right now but we'll give the governor some time,” he said.

Reports of Gov Spitzer's involvement with the prostitution ring on Monday had drawn a swift call from the Republican Governors Association for him to quit.

Prostitute links

According to reports, Mr Spitzer, a father of three who built his career fighting corporate corruption as New York state attorney general, was caught on a wiretap arranging to meet a prostitute at a Washington hotel last month.

He was believed to have used an exclusive ring known as the “Emperor's Club VIP,” which was broken up by New York authorities last week.

Prosecutors said last week the ring operated in cities across the United States and in London and Paris, employing more than 50 prostitutes who charged fees ranging from $US1,000 to more than $5,500 per hour.

According to reports, Gov Spitzer was the “Client 9” named in a criminal complaint filed by prosecutors last week.

The complaint suggested Client 9 had used the prostitution ring's services before and detailed how he arranged to have a prostitute named Kristen brought from New York to Washington, where Gov Spitzer was to address the US congress.

Prosecutors declined to comment on Gov Spitzer's alleged involvement with the ring, but if he were Client 9, who most significantly brought a prostitute across state lines, he could face federal charges.

According to a wiretapped conversation with the ring's booker, the woman, described in the complaint as “a petite, very pretty brunette,” said that she did not think Client 9 was difficult, as other prostitutes apparently had.

According to the complaint, the client paid her $4,300 and left after around two hours.

Reports suggested that investigators were looking into how “Kristen” was paid, and whether there had been any financial irregularities.

Gov Spitzer, a former New York state attorney general, became governor in January last year. Once named Time magazine's “Crusader of the Year,” he used his inauguration address to pledge to bring ethical government to New York.