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New York Governor Resigns in Sex Scandal

New York Governor Eliot Spitzer has resigned following a sex scandal that rocked the state and stunned political observers across the country. From VOA's New York Bureau, correspondent Barbara Schoetzau reports the resignation takes effect next Monday in order to give Lieutenant Governor David Paterson time for an orderly transition. Paterson will become the state's first African-American leader.

Spitzer's resignation has been anticipated since The New York Times reported on Monday that the governor was involved in a high-priced prostitution ring. Spitzer is alleged to have spent tens of thousands of dollars on sessions with call girls.

In a brief statement, Spitzer said he has already begun to atone for his private failings with his family and he apologized to his supporters.

"I am deeply sorry that I did not live up to what was expected of me. To every New Yorker, and to all those who believed in what I tried to stand for, I sincerely apologize. I look at my time as governor with a sense of what might have been," he said.

Spitzer said his resignation will take effect on Monday at the request of Lieutenant Governor David Paterson to provide time for an orderly transition.

Spitzer's announcement ends a high profile career as a crusader against corporate corruption. As a popular state attorney general, he successfully prosecuted cases against Wall Street stock traders, mob leaders and several prostitution rings. He was elected governor in 2006 by a landslide. As governor, he signed into law a bill that increased the penalties of those who patronized prostitutes. But his abrasive style also made enemies who were stunned by his fall from grace but not prepared to support any attempt by him to stay in office.

Lieutenant Governor David Paterson, who is legally blind, represented Harlem for 20 years in the New York State Senate, where he enjoyed the respect of colleagues on both sides of the political aisle. He has deep roots in New York City politics. His father Basil is a well-known political figure who once served as deputy mayor.