With last week’s report by Albany County District Attorney David Soares, we now know what we suspected from the beginning of the nine-month-old scandal called “Troopergate”: former Gov. Eliot Spitzer was lying when he said he wasn’t actively involved in the gathering and dissemination of travel records as part of a political plot against his archrival, Senate Majority Leader Joe Bruno. In the last three weeks, Spitzer has been disgraced — exposed as a serial user of call girls — and now discredited — exposed as a blatant liar. Soares eventually discovered the truth, but one wonders what took him so long, and whether he would have been so quick to have it come out if Spitzer were still governor.
In his first report last year, Soares, after a limited inquiry, gave fellow Democrat Spitzer and his aides a clean bill of health. He found not only that no crime had been committed by using state police to provide damaging information about Bruno, but that nobody had done anything wrong. This was very helpful to Spitzer, coming shortly after a much tougher report by Attorney General Andrew Cuomo that blasted the governor’s aides for improper behavior.
The truth was revealed to Soares in February by Darren Dopp, Spitzer’s former communications director and designated fall guy. In last year’s investigation, Dopp (never placed under oath) apparently lied to protect the boss. But after discrepancies were found between this testimony and testimony that Dopp gave to another investigative body, Soares called him back and offered him immunity from prosecution if he told the truth.
And the truth, if Dopp is to be believed (and at this point, there seems no reason not to), is that Spitzer was involved up to his eyeballs, in both the gathering and release of the information about Bruno.
We hope it’s a coincidence that Soares has issued this damning report, and is pushing for the release of all e-mails, phone and other records that Spitzer was withholding under the claim of executive privilege, only after the governor stepped down because of the prostitution scandal.
We also think it’s a shame that no further action can be taken by Soares. The fact that Spitzer never testified under oath makes him immune to prosecution for perjury. And his resignation from office means he can no longer be removed from it.