Woman Pleads Guilty in Spitzer Call Girl Scandal

A woman who helped run the prostitution ring in the scandal that brought down former Gov. Eliot Spitzer pleaded guilty to a pair of federal conspiracy charges Tuesday and called her former business "disgusting."

Cecil Suwal, 23, giggled and cried her way through a brief hearing at a federal court in Manhattan, then donned a pair of sunglasses and left quickly without speaking to reporters.

Prosecutors portrayed Suwal in an indictment as the savvy manager behind the Emperors Club V.I.P. escort service — a confident madam who paid out hundreds of thousands of dollars to prostitutes and controlled shell companies used to hide the profits. Clients paid up to $5,500 an hour.

But as she pleaded guilty to conspiring to launder money and conspiring to promote prostitution, the waifish college dropout struggled to express what she'd done.

"I was involved in just the daily operations of this disgusting thing," she said. "Basically, it was, I guess, a prostitution ring, that was attempting to launder money or whatever."

Her attorney, Alberto Ebanks, suggested after the hearing that Suwal was naively led into the business by her 62-year-old boyfriend, Mark Brener, the escort service's alleged ringleader.

The plea bargain calls for Suwal, who has no criminal record, to get between 21 and 27 months in prison, although a judge could depart from that recommendation.

Temeka Lewis, a booking agent for the escort service, pleaded guilty to similar charges in May. Another woman accused of being a booking agent and Brener have pleaded not guilty.

There is no provision in Suwal's arrangement calling on her to cooperate with investigators in the probe of the ring's activities, and neither prosecutors nor the defense said anything in court Tuesday that revealed whether there could be charges against the agency's clients.

Spitzer hasn't been charged, but he apologized and resigned on March 12, shortly after the case became public.

Prosecutors say Lewis arranged a date between a prostitute with the pseudonym Kristen and a man identified in court papers as "Client-9," later revealed to be Spitzer. The pair's Feb. 13 rendezvous in Washington, D.C., was monitored by federal law enforcement.

During the investigation, which began with an inquiry into suspicious cash transfers, federal agents listened in on Spitzer's telephone calls and analyzed his bank records.

Suwal, a former University of Miami student who graduated from the prestigious Blair Academy in New Jersey, got her job at the Emperors Club after answering a help-wanted ad. She later moved in with Brener; the couple lived in Cliffside Park, N.J.

In a written statement released before the plea, Ebanks said Suwal wants to get on with her life. "She deeply regrets her actions. She is remorseful. She is contrite and she is determined to right her wrongs in a manner that is fair and just."