NEW YORK – A top New York state official has told The Associated Press that Gov. Eliot Spitzer — caught up in his alleged participation in a prostitution ring — will resign effective Monday, March 17.
Spitzer's office announced shortly after the news broke that he will make a statement Wednesday at 11:30 a.m. ET.
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The official spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity because the announcement had not yet been made.
Should Spitzer resign, he would be replaced by Lt. Gov. David Paterson, who will become New York's first black governor.
Allegations surfaced Monday that Spitzer was linked to a federal investigation of an international call-girl ring and spent thousands of dollars for a night with a prostitute named "Kristen" at a glitzy Washington hotel.
The New York Times reported Wednesday that Silda Wall Spitzer was urging her disgraced husband not to resign, according to close aides of the governor.
The state's Republican leadership, meanwhile, on Tuesday gave the Democratic governor -- who rode into office 14 months ago on his reputation as a crime-fighting attorney general -- 48 hours to resign or face impeachment.
New York Assembly Republican leader James Tedisco told FOX News' "Hannity & Colmes," said: "We believe it is an illegal activity he has been involved with.
"We're going to give him 24 to 48 hours to do the right thing, and the right thing is to resign because he has been compromised. If that's not the case ... we're going to ask the speaker to start impeachment proceedings," Tedisco said Monday night.
Spitzer faced a growing chorus of calls for him to step down as sources told the Associated Press that Spitzer had paid tens of thousands of dollars as a repeat customer of a high-priced prostitution service.
The Associated Press, quoting unnamed law enforcement officials, said Spitzer's running tab for the trysts could have been as high as $80,000.
Earlier Tuesday, the New York Post reported that Spitzer had been soliciting prostitutes at least since 2002, according to unnamed sources.
Allegations first surfaced Monday that Spitzer is the person known only as "Client 9" in a federal affidavit about a high-priced prostitution ring that became public last week.
According to the affidavit, Client 9 arranged to meet a prostitute from the Emperors Club VIP sex organization in Washington, D.C., last month. Spitzer's public schedule shows he visited Washington at the same time.
A law enforcement official told The Associated Press Tuesday that the governor first came under suspicion because of cash payments from several bank accounts to an account operated by a call-girl ring.
Spitzer was the initial target of the investigation and was tracked using court-ordered wiretaps that appear to have recorded him arranging for a prostitute to meet him at a Washington hotel in mid-February, the official said.
The inquiry alleged that Spitzer was a repeat customer with the Emperors Club VIP, a high-end prostitution service, the official said. In an affidavit filed in Manhattan federal court last week, Spitzer appeared as "Client 9," according to another law enforcement official who also spoke on condition of anonymity because of the ongoing investigation.
Spitzer allegedly paid for the call girl to take a train from New York to Washington — a move that opened the transaction up to federal prosecution because she crossed state lines.
Client 9 wanted a high-priced prostitute named Kristen to come to Washington on a 5:39 p.m. train from Manhattan Feb. 13. The door to the hotel room would be left ajar. Train tickets, cab fare, room service, and the minibar were all on him.
"Yup, same as in the past. No question about it," the caller told Kristen's boss, when asked if he would make his payment to the same business as usual, a federal affidavit said. The client paid $4,300 to Kristen, touted by the escort service as a "petite, pretty brunette," according to the court papers.
The Feb. 13 tryst took place in the Mayflower hotel, where Spitzer rented a second room for the woman under another name, the law enforcement official who spoke to The AP on Tuesday said. Spitzer had to sneak past his State Police detail to get to her room, the official said.
According to the court papers, an Emperors Club agent was told by the prostitute that her evening with Client 9 went well. The agent said she had been told that the client "would ask you to do things that ... you might not think were safe ... very basic things," according to the papers, but Kristen responded by saying: "I have a way of dealing with that ... I'd be, like, listen dude, you really want the sex?"
The governor has not been charged, and prosecutors would not comment on the case. A Spitzer spokesman said the governor has retained a large Manhattan law firm.
Spitzer, a 48-year-old father of three teenage girls, was elected with a historic margin of victory, and took office Jan. 1, 2007, vowing to stamp out corruption in New York government in the same way that he took on Wall Street executives while state attorney general.
Spitzer retreated from public view Monday afternoon, after he appeared glassy-eyed with his shellshocked wife, Silda, at his side and apologized to his family and the public, but did not directly acknowledge any involvement with the prostitute.
"I have acted in a way that violates my obligations to my family and violates my — or any — sense of right and wrong," he said. "I apologize to the public, whom I promised better."
Spitzer become known as the "Sheriff of Wall Street." Time magazine named him "Crusader of the Year," and the tabloids proclaimed him "Eliot Ness." The square-jawed graduate of Princeton University and Harvard Law was sometimes mentioned as a potential presidential candidate.
Spitzer's term as governor has been fraught with problems, including an unpopular plan to grant driver's licenses to illegal immigrants and a plot by his aides to smear his main Republican nemesis.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.