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Every scandal begins with a lie. But the truth will come out. And then comes the fallout and the outrage.
Scandals have shaped America since its founding. From business and politics to sports and society, we look on aghast as corruption, deceit and ambition bring down heroes and celebrities, politicians and moguls. And when the dust finally settles, we’re left to wonder: how did this happen? Where did they trip up, and who is to blame? From the creators of American History Tellers, Business Wars and Tides of History comes American Scandal, where we take you deep into the heart of America’s dark side to look at what drives someone to break the rules and what happens when they’re caught. Hosted by Lindsay Graham.
Tue, 12 Nov 2019 10:00
Troopergate explodes. Governor Spitzer finds himself embroiled in a scandal. Senator Bruno is investigated by the FBI.
If you enjoyed American History Tellers, be sure to check out Lindsay Graham’s other shows, American History Tellers and American Elections: Wicked Game.
This episode contains some strong language. It's early morning, Monday, July 2nd, 2007. Joe Bruno should be prepping for the annual hometown July 4th parade and stockpiling hot dogs for the barbecue at his farm. Instead, he's fuming. On Sunday, the Albany Times Union broke a story that he used state aircraft for political fundraisers and personal trips. It also made mention of the FBI investigation that's been dogging Bruno for the last year. So no wonder he spent the early morning hours pacing the office. And he knows exactly who's behind it. The leak has the fingerprints of Elliott Spitzer's office all over it. He picks up the phone to call his top spokesman, John McCartle, hoping he's made some headway with the press. Spitzer has taken more personal trips on his political crusade against me in a month. If that's not personal, what is? Did you mention that I need troopers because of the death threats I get? Yeah, it's in there. Listen, they mentioned the FBI thing again. What does it say? Federal investigators have been scrutinizing his outside business activities and have issued subpoenas to a number of businesses that have received state aid at his direction. Jesus. Anything else? Well, they're calling for an investigation into the flights. Who is? Spitzer's office. Stop. You've got to be kidding me. We've got to get in front of this, John. I know, Senator. You've got a press conference at noon. I'm calling Stone. Senator Bruno may be almost 80 years old, but he's just as shrewd as the day he took office. He's kept his seat in office for more than 30 years because he knows how to bob and weave. He just needs to get off the ropes and start making some jabs. And with a little help, he'll be back on top in no time. Spitzer has no idea what to about the hit him. American scandal is sponsored by the new ABC drama Alaska Daily when an indigenous woman goes missing in Alaska. It sparks new questions about other missing and murdered indigenous women. And that's where the thrilling new ABC drama Alaska Daily begins and where it's headed will have you on the edge of your seat. Two time Academy Award winner Hillary Swank stars as Eileen, a veteran reporter who joins a team of local journalists working to bring the truth to light. From Academy Award winning screenwriter Tom McCarthy, Alaska Daily premieres Thursday, October 6th on ABC and streams next day on Hulu. If you're into true crime, the Generation Y podcast is essential listening. We started this podcast over 10 years ago to dissect some of the craziest and most notable murders, crimes and conspiracy theories together and we'd love for you to join us. All the Generation Y podcast on Amazon Music or wherever you listen to podcasts. I'm Wondry, I'm Lindsey Graham and this is American Scal. This is the second episode in our series about Albany, New York. In our last episode, Elliot Spitzer, the heroic sheriff of Wall Street, was elected governor on the promise to clean up the cesspool of Albany politics. But six months later, Governor Spitzer is at war with his chief rival, Senate Majority Leader Joe Bruno, one of the most powerful men in the state. To war, that's about to get a whole lot worse. This is episode two and a fair to remember. The party at Senator Bruno's upstate farm on July 4 has often been a festive affair. But for Joe Bruno, the holidays always a mixed bag. He loves the local parades and the high fives and handshakes from the people in the county who love him because he's gotten them baseball stadiums, parks and playgrounds, some with his name on them. But his thoroughbreds are always spooked by the fireworks. Tonight, he's just as jumpy, after a conversation with Fred Dicker from the post. Bruno's finally on the attack, if Dicker reports this right, come tomorrow morning, he might just get the upper hand on this whole travel fiasco. It's been a tough few weeks. Last month, the Times Union obtained a grand jury subpoena to look into the specifics of an ongoing FBI investigation around Bruno's outside business interests, with substantial and important business people, as Bruno's firm calls their clients. It turns out the feds are particularly interested in Bruno's close relationship with Jared Abruzese, a wealthy businessman who's been lobbying to run the state's multi billion dollar horse racing franchise. Abruzese has arranged fundraisers for Bruno, taken him on vacation in his private jet, and paid him nearly a half million dollars in so called consulting fees. They are also looking into something less colorful but equally as lucrative. Bruno's employment with right investment services. The firm is paying Bruno a large consulting fee for referring clients to right. And now this thing about misusing state aircraft is front and center, an ethics charge that could throw him out of office. Bruno is certain this is Spitzer's endgame, but Bruno has a weapon that Spitzer does not. Roger Stone. Stone is an icon of American politics. He made his reputation back in the 70s as Richard Nixon's dirty trickster, and he's proud of it. He sports a giant tattoo of Nixon's face on his back. He leads a colorful personal life, often visiting swingers clubs with his wife. On Stone's resume is a who's who of American politics, Ronald Reagan, Bob Dole, George Bush. He has two monos that have served him well over the years. Attack, attack, attack, never defend. And admit nothing, deny everything, launch counterattack. So in June, when Bruno has had enough of Spitzer and his attacks on the Republican majority, he turned to Roger Stone. Stone is a master at manipulating the press. He and his team collect negative stories on Spitzer and feed a steady drip to journalists, trying to paint him as an angry thug and a spoiled Ely's as brat. Stone's fee is $20,000 a month. The money helps support Stone's expensive habits. He collects jaguars and fancy clothes. There are more than 100 custom made suits in his closet, but there's no denying the dirty trickster gets results. So far, Joe Bruno does not regret paying Stone's bill. On Thursday, July 5th at 6am, Ely's spitzer is returning to the governor's mansion from an early morning jog. He walks into the kitchen, grabs the paper. He knows the New York Post's Fred Dikers is publishing something and it won't be flattering. But what's on the front page stops him in his tracks. The headline reads, Gov's trooper snoop on Bruno. He drops into the nearest chair and picks up a phone. He's not happy. Mr. Governor. Dov, you seeing this? I'm looking at it right now, Governor. It says Governor Spitzer targeted state Senate Majority Leader Joseph Bruno for an unprecedented state police surveillance program. It's a total spin job, Governor. They're saying I directed state troopers to spy on Bruno. Then I singled him out. I told Dikers the police started keeping records when Mike Long, from his own party for Christ's sakes, complained about Bruno bringing armed troopers to his fundraiser. But Long denies it. Look at Bruno's quote. He says, this is like something you'd expect in a third world country where some dictator has his enemies followed to see how they could either do something to them or disgrace them. Is it dangerous in a free country? Bruno just loves to play the victim. You know that. It'll blow over Governor. A few days, a week, tops. Except that it doesn't blow over. In a television interview later that day, Bruno calls Spitzer a bully and a hypocrite and his aides, hoodlums and thugs. The next day, Bruno calls for a criminal probe into Spitzer's tactics. Admit nothing, deny everything, launch counterattack. The media quickly dubs the affair, trooper gate. The question is no longer whether Bruno has been flying state aircraft to $5,000 of plate fundraising dinners. Now, it's how dangerous and conniving is Elliott Spitzer. In a one two punch, Bruno has just turned the tables. Attorney General Andrew Cuomo has been very vocal about his desire to one day be Governor. And what better place to pave the way than the Attorney General's office? The work for Spitzer. Now Cuomo has the opportunity of a lifetime. He's been called on to investigate corruption in Albany by two of the most powerful men in the state. He'll need to tread lightly so there's no blowback on his office. He and his team get to work, requesting emails and records and conducting interviews. Three weeks later, on July 23rd, Cuomo issues his report. It's long and it's scathing. The investigators find there was an orchestrated campaign by the Governor's office to obtain and provide information to the news media with the help of the state police to essentially discredit Joe Bruno. It says the Governor's staff ordered the state police to keep special records of Bruno's wearabouts when he traveled with police escorts in New York City and to create records from memory if they didn't exist. It concludes by saying while Spitzer's office had broken no laws and there was no spying as Bruno contended, there was a clear breach of ethics. Cuomo places the blame at the feet of three of Spitzer's staff. The Governor, for now, is deemed innocent. The report also clears Bruno of misusing the state's air fleet, though it calls the state's policy, Porus, and recommends tightening it up. For the Governor who sailed into office promising ethics reform, this doesn't look good. On the morning of July 23rd, Governor Spitzer and his team gather in his office at the capital and reread the report before it's officially released by Cuomo's office. Then with a sigh, he leans back in his chair, guards himself. He's about to do something he's rarely done in his life, eat crow. He picks up the phone and dials Joseph Bruno. What can I do for you, Governor? Joe, I owe you an apology. I had no idea what Daren Dopp was up to, what my office was up to. I know it caused you a hell of a lot of problems, and I'm sorry for that. Well, that's mighty magnanimous of you, Governor. Joe. Jesus, Elliott. You've had the state troopers on my heels, following me? Well, you're fucking around with a press, painting me as a bad actor? You are a hypocrite. You think I don't know why you're calling? I know exactly why. So you can tell the press you said sorry. All right, Joe. I try. You have my apology. Please accept it. I appreciate your call, Governor. For Bruno, it's a case of too little, too late. Elliott Spitzer puts down the phone. He's tried to do the right thing. Now he has to do one more unpleasant thing. Put communications director Daren Dopp on indefinite, unpaid leave. Whether Dopp acted on his own or whether Spitzer told him to leak Bruno's travel details doesn't matter. It will look better to the people of New York for someone to go down. He'd eat more crow at a press conference in the red room, where he tells the crowd of reporters that he is accountable for what goes on in the executive branch and he accepts responsibility for the actions of his office. He says his administration has grossly mishandled the situation. He tells them he apologized to Senator Bruno personally this morning. It's been a very bad day. Even the New York Times jumps in. And then editorial saying the episode has the smell of an old fashioned dirty trick. And if Spitzer fails to clean up his own house, his ability to clean up Albany could be severely compromised. Four days later, on July 27th, state Senator Dean Skellos pushes the issue further. Skellos grew up in Rockville, center, New York, in a family of Greek descent. Apart from college, he never left his small town. In a attorney who still practices on the side, he's been at the legislature for more than a quarter century. He knows how to win influence. In one of his earliest elections, he persuaded Ronald Reagan to stomp for him. Skellos is also practiced in the ways Albany works and perfectly happy with the culture of trading favors. He's also widely known as Bruno's attack dog. Skellos pulls no punches maligning Spitzer. He recommends his committee on investigations and government operations review trooperate. He says, we have the real makings of a conspiracy here. Spitzer tries to shift the press's attention back to the actual work of the governor's office. But the bad press keeps on coming for weeks. Roger Stone helps fan the flames. Attack, attack, never defend. But Stone's doggyed enthusiasm to take down Spitzer is about to take a poisonous and a faffling turn. As the summer wears on, the heat in New York grows more stifling. People are on edge and the crime rates are up. At 10 pm on August 6th, a phone rings in an empty office on the 22nd floor of the crown building on Fifth Avenue. No one is there. The owner, 83 year old Bernard Spitzer, the governor's multi millionaire father, left work early that day to go home and rest. He suffers from Parkinson's and tires easily these days. The machine in his office picks up and the caller leaves a message. This is a message for Bernard Spitzer. You will be subpoenaed to testify before the Senate Committee on investigations on your shady campaign loans. You will be compelled by the Senate, Sergeant at Arms. If you resist the subpoena, you will be arrested and brought to Albany. There's not a goddamn thing your phone, psychotherapist, and do about it. The voicemail is referring to questions around how Elliott Spitzer financed his 1994 run for Attorney General. Questions that have never been put to rest, mostly because Republicans are keeping them alive. A private investigator traces the call back to a phone belonging to the wife of political consultant Roger Stone. He was demonizing, saying he was at the theater that night, watching a Broadway show called Frost Nixon. But there was no such performance. Then, Stone tries to pin it implausibly, both on the Democratic owner of his apartment building and on Spitzer himself. But on August 22nd, 2007, investigations conclude that Stone left the message. For the last month Bruno had been enjoying his status as an elder statesman wronged by a dirty dealing governor. So this is embarrassing. Stone is on his payroll. Stone has made him look anything but statesman like. Bruno forces Roger Stone to resign. In November 2007, not even a year into office, Elliott Spitzer has been plagued by scandal. There are now ten separate ongoing trooper gate investigations. Soon, there will be investigations of the investigations. In the dust clears, millions will be spent and no one will be found guilty of anything. But for Spitzer, it's beginning to look like trooper gate will take over his legacy. Voters are disillusioned. Spitzer came into office with nearly 70% of the vote, but a recent poll shows only 25% would elect him again. He is determined to crawl out from underneath this dark cloud and earn New Yorkers trust again. The governor's spitzer does not know as he will soon be looking back at trooper gate as the good old days. Another scandal is coming. Something much worse. What if your family was the victim of a home invasion? Or you woke up in the morgue? Or you were seriously injured? Miles from help. What would you do? This is actually happening. Ask our listeners this very question. While we bring you captivating real life stories of trauma and perseverance, this is actually happening brings listeners extraordinary true stories from the people who lived them. You'll hear stories about conflict, turmoil, or threats that dramatically alter the course of someone's life. Each episode is an exploration of the human spirit and how survivors manage to overcome hardship and move on with their lives, even thriving afterward. Another new season of this is actually happening is available ad free only with Wondry Plus. And if this new season isn't enough, you can listen to more than 120 exclusive episodes available only to Wondry Plus subscribers. Join Wondry Plus on Apple Podcasts or on the Wondry app. Long before becoming governor, Elliott Spitzer was an assistant district attorney in Manhattan, where he played a pivotal role in prosecuting the Gambino crime family. He came up with an ingenious idea for a sting operation, a phony garment sweatshop. The Gambinos were known to extort money from businesses in the garment district, and Spitzer was betting that sooner or later they would come to his phony shop and demand their cut too. It was a gamble, but it paid off. Thanks to Elliott Spitzer, the Manhattan DA's office took down one of the most notorious mob families in the country. Spitzer used his success in the district attorney's office to run for attorney general, and won. As attorney general, he focused on Wall Street, investment banks and bankers who he believe were every bit as corrupt as the mob, just with better suits. During his eight years in that role, Spitzer went after institutions previously thought to be unassailable. Merrill Lynch, Bank of America, AIG. He not only prosecuted top level investment bankers, he got convictions. It earned him the moniker, the sheriff of Wall Street. Spitzer's success in exposing financial fraud did not just earn him a nickname. It also earned him some very rich and very powerful enemies. Since becoming the governor of New York, that enemies list has only gotten longer. He just doesn't know how long. But in February 2008, Spitzer is feeling confident. Troopergate is mostly behind him. He's had a few legislative wins, and his poll numbers are slowly ticking up. Now he's on his way to Washington at the request of Congress to testify and share some of his financial expertise. Late in the afternoon, the governor checks into room 871 of the elegant Mayflower Hotel, also known as the Hotel of Presidents. After settling in, he calls room service, orders a scotch, and gets in the shower. A few minutes later, the phone rings. It's the front desk, asking to speak to Mr. Fox. Elliott Spitzer has checked in under a pseudonym, George Fox, which also happens to be the name of one of his good friends and a major donor to the New York Democratic Party. The clerk says there's a woman named Kristen to see him. Moments later, there's a knock. Elliott Spitzer, governor of New York, aka George Fox, wearing the plush hotel bathrobe opens the door to find a beautiful 22 year old woman named Kristen standing in the hallway. Kristen is also a pseudonym. Actually, it's her second pseudonym. Her first is Ashley Dupre, the name she uses while pursuing her singing career. Kristen is her call girl name. She thinks Mr. Fox looks familiar, although she can't quite place him. Ashley, aka Kristen, is from New Jersey, and she doesn't even follow the news from her home state, so New York politics is about as far from her awareness as the moon. Mr. Fox, aka Elliott Spitzer, quickly ushers her in. What happens next is anyone's guess, but when a nearly 50 year old married man who happens to be the governor of New York and a beautiful 22 year old call girl from New Jersey secretly meet in an expensive Washington DC hotel room, it usually isn't to discuss politics. A little over two hours later, Kristen leaves with $4,300 in cash. $2,600 for her and $1,700 as a deposit for future services with the Emperor's Club, the exclusive Manhattan Escort Agency, Mr. Fox, has used to set up this trust. The next morning, it's business as usual for Governor Spitzer. He goes to Capitol Hill for a full day of meetings and then returns home to his wife and family in Albany to fight duplicity and deception in the state capital. If he feels any sense of irony, he isn't letting on. The affair is not a secret. Someone has been watching. Elliott Spitzer is under surveillance, not by the New York State Police, but by the Feds. The federal government became interested in Governor Spitzer in the summer of 2006, after his bank noticed unusual wire transfers and reported it to the IRS. After some digging, the IRS learned the money was going to shell companies associated with the Emperor's Club. The IRS then alerted the federal authorities. Why the Feds are suddenly interested in a Manhattan call girl operation is a puzzle. Standard protocol is to hand off an investigation into a prostitution ring to city or state law enforcement. But they don't. Instead, they proceed to wire tap and surveil the governor starting in January. Eventually, they pass their findings onto the US Attorney's Office for the Southern District of New York. As a branch of the US Justice Department, the Southern District of New York is tasked with prosecuting federal crimes. But hiring a prostitute is not a federal crime. So an investigation like this is highly unusual. Soon the Feds are not only able to confirm Spitzer's recent risk at the Mayflower Hotel with Kristen, but also that he has been a client of the Emperor's Club for some time. On Friday, March 7, the New York Times reports that federal authorities have arrested four people for running a web based prostitution ring, which has been servicing clients in Miami, New York, and DC. That evening, Spitzer receives a tip from a Times reporter. The Feds have identified him as client 9 of the Emperor's Club. The reporter tells him that the Times intends to print the story on Monday. But how did the reporter get Spitzer's name? No one knows. Spitzer's list of enemies was almost as long as Manhattan, but someone did leak it, and Spitzer's was the only name the Feds identified that made it to the press. Someone wanted the Governor gone. On Saturday, March 8, the Governor puts on his game face, and along with Mrs. Spitzer travels back to DC for the Gridiron Club dinner, an annual White TIE event attended by Washington elites. The Governor manages to engage in Mingle, but his mind is elsewhere. Back in New York City, his world is on the verge of collapse, and his family, his reputation, and his entire life's work look like they will be buried in the rubble. On Sunday, March 9, Spitzer's return to New York and the Governor starts a panic. Late that night, he sends his senior advisor, who is also a lawyer, several frantic emails asking if he can talk. When they finally get on the phone at midnight, Spitzer tells him the Times is going to report that he has been involved with prostitutes. As of now, you are my counsel, he says, then sits down with his wife, Silda, and his daughters to have the most heart wrenching talk of his life. On Monday morning, March 10, the Governor cancels an 11 a.m. speech he is scheduled to give to the family planning advocates of New York. Aids tell the press the Governor is ill, others say that there's been a scheduling conflict. Neither is true. The Governor is simply in no condition to give a speech. The Governor's offices in both Manhattan and Albany are in complete chaos. Although the story has still not broken, the Governor instructs his senior Aids to let staff in both offices know that the release of the story is imminent, and that it's true. It's just after lunch. Lieutenant Governor David Patterson receives a call from one of the Governor's top aides Richard Baum. Baum is whispering from inside a bathroom in the Governor's apartment. Lieutenant Governor Richard, I can hardly hear you. Did you read the article in the Times? I haven't known. Which article? The Emperor's Club prostitution ring. The Governor's about to be entided. I think he's going to resign. You may have to step in. Oh God, I gotta go. As Patterson hangs up the phone, he's sure he missed her Baum. He calls his A to see what he knows. Lieutenant Governor. Hey, yeah, look, I just got off the phone with Baum. Do you know anything coming out of the Governor's office today? Why? Look, it was a short phone call and I've probably misheard him. I'm convinced it has nothing to do with him, but maybe one of the spits or companies or something? No, sir. I'm sorry to say you heard correctly. It's the Governor. Oh God. I'm not sure what I should be doing right now. Sir, I suggest you start putting some thoughts together and making some notes. We might use them for your inauguration speech. By noon, the horrible news is sinking in for Governor Spitzer staff in both Albany and New York. Summer and shock. Summer angry. Others are distraught even crying. Many staffers left good jobs in the private sector to go work for a man and a cause they believed in. Other staff members are in denial. They refuse to believe this exemplar of law and order and devoted family man could ever be involved in something so unseemly. Then things take another turn. Richard Baum places another call to the Lieutenant Governor, telling him that the Governor's resignation may not be imminent after all. For the next two hours, nobody on the Governor's staff knows whether he's going to quit or fight. At approximately 2 p.m., the Governor's office notify staff and the press that an announcement will be made at 2.15, topic unknown. The New York Times catches wind of the scheduled announcement. To ensure they are not scooped by the Governor, they drop the story on their website at 2.10 p.m. with a simple headline that will send shockwaves throughout the state and the entire country. It reads, Spitzer is linked to prostitution ring. The Governor's 2.15 announcement is postponed. His staff is in turmoil. Finally, at 3.25, Governor Spitzer appears at the podium with Mrs. Spitzer at his side. He looks haggard. The stress he's been under is etched on his face. Still the Spitzer is stoic, but there are tears in her eyes. Without citing any specifics, the Governor makes a brief statement. Good afternoon. Today, I want to briefly address a private matter. I have acted in a way that violates my obligations to my family and that violates my or any sense of right and wrong. I apologize first and most importantly to my family. I apologize to the public who my promise to 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. As Spitzer turns to leave, reporters call out, are you resigning? But he and his family keep walking, headed for the seclusion of their Fifth Avenue apartment. Throughout the day, media reports indicate that the governor is planning to resign, but it can't be confirmed. The governor's office has no comment, saying only that the governor's schedule has been cleared for the day. Governor Spitzer has admitted to the public that he is guilty of wrongdoing, but he hasn't publicly confessed exactly what that might be. Now he has a monumental decision to make. Some of his staff urge him to stay the course. Sure, it will be a bumpy ride, but with a public meoculpa and an announcement that he will seek treatment for sex addiction, there's a good chance it'll blow over. It's happened before. Ted Kennedy, Bill Clinton. Of course, neither of them came into office promising to reform corruption and ethics. But Spitzer is a fighter, and the time to fight is now. Others believe if he doesn't leave of his own accord, there is very good chance he will be impeached by both Republicans in the Senate and the Democrats. For the first time, maybe ever, Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver claims he is no way of controlling how the Democrats in the House will vote. But it's the governor himself who must make the decision. Does he fight for a second chance to fulfill his campaign promises and fight corruption? What is it too late? At 7pm on Friday, March 7th, 2008, while Governor Spitzer contemplates whether to publicly apologize for his actions and wait out the bad press or simply resign, the Associated Press drops another bomb. The governor has spent an estimated $80,000 on escorts, not just as governor, but going back to his days as Attorney General when he was responsible for enforcing the laws of New York State. The press is now in a feeding frenzy. The New York Post gleefully assigns a new nickname to the governor. He's no longer the sheriff of Wall Street. He's the love gov, and within just a few hours, the scandal quickly gains national attention. New York Times is reporting New York Governor Elliott Spitzer has told his senior administration officials he had been involved in the prostitution ring. The governor of New York, Elliott Spitzer, announced that he had been hiring young women from an escorts service. And by the way, he's a former prosecutor. Republicans waste no time pouncing. Lenore and Elie and her James Tedisco, who Spitzer once threatened to steamroll, issues a statement saying, the governor has disgraced his office in the entire state of New York. He is unfit to lead our state and unfit to hold public office. He follows it with a threat of his own, unless the governor resigned in the next 48 hours, Tedisco will call for articles of impeachment against him. It appears the choice has been made for Spitzer. On the morning of Wednesday, March 12, 2008, only 14 and a half months into his term. Spitzer's office announces that the governor will make a brief statement to the press at 11.30 a.m. At 10.45 a.m., Spitzer's nemesis, Senate Majority Leader Joe Bruno, breaks his silence and makes a statement to the press that forced shadows Elliott Spitzer's inevitable demise. We are going to partner with the Lieutenant Governor and when he becomes Governor. The Governor. David has always been very old and with me, very forthright and I look forward to a positive productive relationship soon after. The press swarms outside the doors of Spitzer's Tony Fifth Avenue apartment as Governor and Mrs. Spitzer emerge and make their way into the back of a black SUV. Helicopters, however above, as the car slowly makes its way to the governor's office. The street is lined with thousands of people, some with cameras, some with signs of support, a few look sad, others angry. Spitzer's senior advisor will later say it felt like a motorcade headed to a public execution. Silda Spitzer, an elegant and gracious woman, is still shell shocked from the bomb dropped on her just a few days earlier. When grown up in a southern Baptist family in North Carolina, no one ever prepared her for such a humiliating situation. Bad enough if all this happened privately, but this. She doesn't have the luxury of worrying about herself right now. She has daughters at home and a role to play. As the caravan slows to a stop at his New York office, Spitzer apologizes to the state police escorts and then again to his staff when he reaches the 39th floor. He implores them not to lose faith in government service because of his actions. And then, at 11.40 am, with Silda his wife by his side, Elliot Spitzer steps up to a podium. In the past few days, I've begun to atone for my private failings with my wife Soda, my children, and my entire family. I am deeply sorry that I did not live up to what was expected of me. For the course of my public life, I have insisted I believe correctly that people, regardless of their position or power, take responsibility for their conduct. I can and will ask no less of myself. For this reason, I am resigning from the office of governor. It's the last time Spitzer will speak publicly as governor. His resignation will take effect the following Monday. Once governor Spitzer has been shown the door, only two of the three men in a room remain, and the press is eager to hear from Sheldon Silver and Joe Bruno. Silver releases a statement to the press that reads, in part, this is obviously a painful day for all of New York. Now I think it is the time to pray for the Spitzer family, for his parents, for his wife, for his children. It is also the time to move forward with the people's business. Joe Bruno's statement is also politically correct. I am going to leave it to the governor and his family to sort out how they deal with the present circumstances and the future. And frankly, I have them in my prayers. Joe Bruno and his second and command, Dean Skellos, are sitting across from each other at a quiet restaurant. Bruno has spent years grooming Skellos to assume the role of majority leader when he retires. Bruno trusts him, as much as you can trust anyone in Albany. But now that Spitzer is out of the picture, Joe plans to stick around for a while. Let's have a toast, Dean, shall we? To justice. To justice. To quote Jackie Cleason? How sweet it is. Joe, I have to ask you, just between you and me. Do you have any idea who, Dean? The line of people who wanted to see Spitzer go down would stretch from Albany to Staten Island and back. The Spitzer problem has been neutralized. That's all that matters. As far as I'm concerned, he died of his own hubris. All right. Well, here's to Governor Patterson and to you, the new lieutenant governor, as a feel. Oh, it fits like a glove. With his archenemuses out of the picture, Joe Bruno hopes all of his troubles are in the rearview mirror. And the next five months of the Patterson administration run pretty smoothly for both Silver and Bruno with a new governor in place. But in December 2007, the New York Times prints an article about Joe Bruno's employment with right investor service. While Bruno has never denied referring clients their way. Up until now, no one has known who the clients were. The article reveals that several of those clients are New York labor unions who have invested tens of millions of dollars in pension funds with right. They also happen to be the single largest contributor to Bruno's campaign fund, giving hundreds of thousands of dollars annually. Bruno denies there is anything wrong with your age. But Democrats, the press, and a few million New Yorkers don't see it that way. After a few weeks of intense pressure, Bruno announces he severed his ties with right investor's service. Once again, a case of too little too late, because in February 2008, the FBI subpoenas the financial records of the labor unions. They want to know what happened exactly in what role Joe Bruno played. The following month, a New York magazine article interviews Bruno, who tells the reporter his role was to provide entree and access. The federal government has a name for what Joe Bruno was doing. It's called honest services fraud, depriving citizens of honest services as a public official by improperly mixing public and private work. It's a nice way to put it, but what it really means is that Bruno has been selling his favors to a high bidder, rather than honestly serving the people of New York. No matter what you call it, it still smells rotten to the voters of New York. The press pounces, and Joe Bruno knows he has stepped in at this time. He issues denial after denial, claiming he never said anything to that New York magazine reporter about providing access. And when that doesn't work, he claims that he was misquoted. Then he says, maybe he did say it, but the reporter has betrayed his trust he was speaking off the record. Two months later, in May of 2008, the FBI starts a new investigation into the legislative ethics committee, the body that approved Bruno's dealings with right and the unions. This getting very hot, and Joe Bruno needs to get out of the kitchen. In June, after serving the Senate for 31 years, he resigns his majority leader and announces he will not run for reelection. He cites personal reasons, because that sounds better than I'm being investigated by the FBI, and I may end up in prison soon. Joe Bruno spends the next several months denying he did anything illegal. But in January of 2009, the feds disagree, and the Southern District of New York indites Joe Bruno on eight counts of corruption. Prosecutors also charge Bruno with accepting over a million dollars from three businessmen for providing entree, as Joe Bruno liked to say. One of the three businessmen, the regular GOP donor named Jared Abrazzesi, paid Bruno $80,000 for a horse, raised on Bruno's farm that was, according to prosecutors, ready for the glue factory, and not worth a fraction of that. The Republicans circle the wagons and support their man, despite the overwhelming evidence pointing to his guilt. The new majority leader, Dean Scalow, says, Joe Bruno is a fighter who has successfully confronted many tough challenges through his life, and I'm very confident he will continue to do so. In November of 2009, 80 year old Joe Bruno's trial begins, and he brings his gloves to court. His behavior is defiant, some might even say entitled. At one point, he mutters aloud about a ruling he doesn't like, within earshot of the jury. That's a no no, and the federal judge has no problem admonishing former Senator Bruno as he would a child. For once in your life you don't control something, I do. You ever do what you just did in the presence of that jury again, which is question any of my rulings? I will take measures to make sure you don't repeat that. You understand me? Of the eight counts, the jury acquits Bruno five and hangs on his sixth, but he is convicted of one count of male fraud and one count of wire fraud. Bruno is sentenced to two years in federal prison. But Bruno is a cat who lands on his feet, and his convictions are overturned when the U.S. Supreme Court narrows the definition of honest services fraud in 2010. A year later, at a retrial, Bruno is acquitted on all eight accounts. The acquittal also allows him to file for repayment of all of his legal fees, $1.8 million. He returns to the tranquility of his sprawling horse farm upstate, where today, at almost 90, he still reads the Albany Papers every day. After Spitzer's breathtaking fall from grace, followed by Joe Bruno's resignation from the Senate, two of the three men who occupied the room in 2007 and 2008 are gone. Assembly speaker Sheldon Silver is the last man standing, and the Senate has a new majority leader, Dean Skellas. But there's still a place in the room for a third man. Both Silver and Skellas are going to find that the new governor has no intention of keeping it business as usual in all. From wondering, this is episode two of five of New York State of Crime for American Scanner. On the next episode, a new New York governor vows to take on corruption while a new U.S. attorney in the Southern District of New York starts his own investigation into crime at the Capitol, and will take down two of the most powerful men in the state. This episode contains reenactments and dramatized details, and while in most cases we can't know exactly what was said, all our dramatizations are based on historical research. American Scanner is hosted, edited, sound design, and executive produced by me Lindsey Graham for Airship, additional production assistance by Derek Farons. This episode is written by Michael Burr. Our consultant is longtime Albany journalist Jay Jocknovitz. The producers are Stephanie Jenns, Marshall Louis, and Hernando Paz for Wondering.