The Times reported that a person with knowledge of the governor's role believes the governor is identified as a client in court papers. Four people allegedly connected to a high-end prostitution ring called Emperors Club VIP were arrested last week.
The Web site of the Emperors Club VIP displays photographs of scantily clad women with their faces hidden, along with hourly rates depending on whether the prostitutes were rated with one diamond, the lowest ranking, or seven diamonds, the highest. The most highly ranked prostitutes cost $5,500 an hour, prosecutors said.
Prosecutors said the defendants arranged connections between wealthy men and more than 50 prostitutes in New York, Washington, D.C., Los Angeles, Miami, London and Paris.
The Times reported that the governor's travel records show he was in Washington in mid-February, and that one of the clients arranged to meet with a prostitute on the night of Feb. 13.
The case is being handled by prosecutors in the Public Corruption unit of U.S. Attorney Michael Garcia's office. Garcia spokeswoman Yusill Scribner said the office had no comment.
Spitzer, 48, built his political legacy on rooting out corruption, including several headline-making battles with Wall Street while serving as attorney general. He stormed into the governor's office in 2006 with a historic share of the vote, vowing to continue his no-nonsense approach to fixing one of the nation's worst governments.
Time magazine had named him "Crusader of the Year" when he was attorney general and the tabloids proclaimed him "Eliot Ness."
But his stint as governor has been marred by several problems, including an unpopular plan to grant driver's licenses to illegal immigrants and a plot by his aides to smear Spitzer's main Republican nemesis.
Spitzer had been expected to testify to the state Public Integrity Commission he had created to answer for his role in the scandal, in which his aides were accused of misusing state police to compile travel records to embarrass Senate Republican leader Joseph Bruno.
Spitzer had served two terms as attorney general where he pursued criminal and civil cases and cracked down on misconduct and conflicts of interests on Wall Street and in corporate America. He had previously been a prosecutor in the Manhattan District Attorney's Office, handling organized crime and white-collar crime cases.
His cases as state attorney general included a few criminal prosecutions of prostitution rings and into tourism involving prostitutes.
In 2004, he was part of an investigation of an escort service in New York City that resulted in the arrest of 18 people on charges of promoting prostitution and related charges.
New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer's statement (from AP)
Here is the transcript of a statement delivered in New York City Monday afternoon by Governor Eliot Spitzer following reports linking him to a prostitution ring.
"Good afternoon. "For the past nine years, eight years as attorney general, and one as governor, I have tried to uphold a vision of progressive politics that would rebuild New York and create opportunity for all. We sought to bring real change to New York and that will continue.
"Today I want to briefly address a private matter. I have acted in a way that violates my obligations to my family and violates my, or any, sense of right and wrong. I apologize first and most importantly to my family. I apologize to the public, whom I promised better. "I do not believe that politics in the long run is about individuals. It is about ideas, the public good, and doing what is best for the state of New York. But I have disappointed and failed to live up to the standard I expected of myself. I must now dedicate some time to regain the trust of my family. "I will not be taking questions. Thank you very much. I will report back to you in short order. Thank you very much."