A lawyer in New York wrote to tell me that Eliot Spitzer has already tacitly admitted violating the Mann Act, a felony that leads to an automatic suspension or disbarment (he could not remember which) in New York.
The Mann Act makes it a felony to aid in the transportation of a woman in interstate commerce “for the purpose of prostitution or debauchery, or for any other immoral purpose, or with the intent and purpose to induce, entice, or compel such woman or girl,” to commit immoral acts.
Okay, ah, I think Eliot Spitzer is guilty of that. Spitzer committed a felony technically. But at some point, prosecutors are charged with applying a little common sense. Does anyone think it is a more serious crime in 2008 to bring a prostitute across state lines than it is to hire a local prostitute? Should prosecutors give a ton of deference to a statute that was named the “White Slave Trade Act” as opposed to applying common sense?
Again, I’m glad Spitzer resigned because we desperately need to rid ourselves of the hypocrisy that Spitzer and politicians of his ilk represent. If Spitzer is foolish enough to plead not guilty and wants to go to trial (chances: million to one), then by all means charge him with a felony. But if the investigation uncovers that he was not using campaign or public funds, Spitzer should be able to quickly plead to a misdemeanor with a small fine (let’s say around Kristen’s hourly rate) and let us, Spitzer and his family all move on from this.
As regular readers of the Maryland Injury Lawyer Blog and the Maryland Lawyer Blog know, I rarely digress into issues of the day because I think they are best addressed outside these niche lawyer blogs. But I really can’t help myself because I find this Eliot Spitzer mess so fascinating.