Ashley Dupré Exclusive: ‘My Side of the Story’

Escort at Center of Eliot Spitzer Scandal Talks to Diane Sawyer

By KIMBERLY LAUNIER and KATIE ESCHERICH

Nov. 19, 2008—

 

The young woman at the center of the historic downfall of the governor of New York is finally speaking out.

Ashley Dupré, the 23-year-old former escort who was the target of intense media scrutiny in the days after Gov. Eliot Spitzer’s resignation from public office, has stepped forward to give her first television interview. Dupré told ABC News’ Diane Sawyer that she does not feel responsible for Spitzer’s downfall.

“If it wasn’t me, it would have been someone else,” she said. “I was doing my job. I don’t feel that I brought him down.”

In March, the media discovered Dupré was “Kristen,” her alias at the Emperor’s Club V.I.P., the high-end escort service that had arranged her rendezvous at the Mayflower Hotel in Washington, D.C., with Spitzer. Soon after the story broke, Dupré sought refuge at her family’s home in New Jersey.

“I felt like it was surreal, like it wasn’t happening,” she said. “But it was.”
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Ex-Call Girl Ashley Dupré: I’m a ‘Normal Girl’

By Mark Dagostino

Originally posted Wednesday November 19, 2008 08:00 AM EST

She was the tabloid sensation at the center of the sex scandal that brought down New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer. But in her very first interview, Ashley Alexandra Dupré tells PEOPLE, “I am a normal girl.”

“Everyone knows me as ‘that girl,’ but I’m not just ‘that girl,’ ” the 23-year-old former escort says in the new issue of PEOPLE, on sale Friday. “I have a lot of depth, a lot of layers.”

Enduring a media spotlight that included seeing her MySpace photos splashed on front pages “has been really hard,” the New Jersey native explains. “But I’m a survivor.” Continue reading

CNBC’s ‘Dirty Money: The Business of High End Prostitution’ Premiers on Tuesday, November 11th at 10pm & 1am ET

There’s one business thriving in this treacherous economy–especially on Wall Street.

cnbc.com – October 30, 2008
 

(PRNewsChannel) / Englewood Cliffs, N.J. / The stock market plummets, unemployment soars, housing prices sink, but one business is sheltered from the rest of the country’s financial storm: high-end prostitution. Who are these “escorts” to the rich and powerful? And why do members of the “business elite” risk it all for their services?  

CNBC, First in Business Worldwide presents “Dirty Money: The Business of High-End Prostitution” an original one-hour production anchored by Melissa Francis (co-anchor of CNBC’s “The Call”) airing on Tuesday November 11th at 10PM & 1AM ET.
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Spitzer Won’t Face Charges for Scandal

No Evidence That Ex-Governor Used Public or Campaign Money for Prostitution

By Carrie Johnson
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, November 7, 2008; A02

Former New York governor Eliot L. Spitzer will not face criminal charges for his role in a prostitution scandal that drove him from office this year, prosecutors announced yesterday.

Investigators for the FBI and the Internal Revenue Service uncovered no evidence that Spitzer had misused public or campaign money to pay women employed by the Emperors Club VIP, a high-priced New York prostitution ring.

Justice Department guidelines disfavor indictments against clients of prostitution rings, even those who transport women across state lines to have sex in violation of the Mann Act. Spitzer acknowledged making payments to the service, which amounted to “acceptance of responsibility for his conduct,” said Michael J. Garcia, U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York.

“We have concluded that the public interest would not be further advanced by filing criminal charges in this matter,” he said in a statement issued yesterday.

In all, four people connected to the Emperors Club as bookers and organizers pleaded guilty to criminal offenses for their roles in the scandal. Authorities looked closely at building a case against Spitzer based on his withdrawals of money and his payments to a shell company called QAT Consulting Group. But they ultimately determined that there was “insufficient evidence” to proceed against him, Garcia said.

Spitzer, a Democrat who had crusaded against Wall Street abuses as New York’s attorney general, encountered a rockier path in Albany, where he clashed with the Republican majority leader and even members of his own political camp.

In recent months, Spitzer receded from public view, working at his father’s real estate investment company and maintaining an unusual silence for a man who once dominated the headlines and used his office as a bully pulpit. Behind the scenes, defense attorneys Theodore V. Wells Jr. and Michele Hirshman provided financial data to prosecutors in an effort to persuade them to drop the case.

Yesterday, Spitzer made a statement through a New York public relations firm saying that he appreciated “the impartiality and thoroughness of the investigation.”

“I resigned my position as governor because I recognized that my conduct was unworthy of an elected official. I once again apologize for my actions, and for the pain and disappointment those actions caused my family and the many people who supported me during my career in public life,” he said.

The disclosure in March that Spitzer was “Client-9” in a seamy affidavit involving an international prostitution operation set off a media firestorm. Room 871 of Washington’s Mayflower Hotel, where Spitzer had a rendezvous with prostitute Ashley Alexandra Dupre in February, became a minor tourist attraction. FBI agents previously had trailed Spitzer to the hotel in an unsuccessful effort to catch him in the act.

Don Buchwald, an attorney for Dupre, said yesterday that she is “pleased the matter is behind her.”

Prosecutors said their investigation began as an effort to determine whether the governor was engaged in public corruption. They noticed unusual payments from Spitzer into the QAT Consulting bank account, an account that had been used to launder more than $1 million from the prostitution ring.

Investigators obtained wiretaps in which Spitzer and other customers arranged liaisons with women, sometimes paying more than $4,000 per night.

Spitzer resigned in the middle of his first gubernatorial term, at a news conference in which his wife, Silda Wall Spitzer, stood gravely by his side.

Staff researcher Julie Tate contributed to this report.

Link to original story

‘TWO ON ONE’ VS. SPITZER

By MURRAY WEISS

April 24, 2008

A second call girl has provided federal investigators with details of Eliot Spitzer‘s fondness for high-priced hookers, law-enforcement sources told The Post.

The lady of the night, who was intimately acquainted with the disgraced governor’s pay-for-play sessions, backs up details given to the feds by Ashley Alexandra Dupre, 22, a bombshell brunette who allegedly was a favorite Spitzer hooker, the sources said.

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It’s unclear whether the second woman was associated with Emperors Club VIP – the brothel that dispatched Dupre to entertain Spitzer in Washington, DC.

The owner and three employees of Emperors Club were indicted a week before word of Spitzer’s involvement broke.

Spitzer – identified in the Emperors Club criminal complaint as “Client-9” – was caught Feb. 13 on a federal wiretap arranging for Dupre, whom he knew as “Kirsten,” to be delivered to his room at the Mayflower Hotel.

In the complaint, “Kirsten” insisted she didn’t find the ex-governor very “difficult,” even though her madam warned that he might want “unsafe” sex.

Law-enforcement sources said Spitzer didn’t like to wear a condom.

The second hooker-informant also told investigators Spitzer was fond of using sex toys to enhance his own pleasure, the sources said.

“The full portrait of Mr. Spitzer’s sexual interests has yet to be told,” one source said.

Spitzer’s spokeswoman, Anna Cordasco, had no immediate comment.

The feds found the second hooker in the course of reviewing records, following the money and checking out the mountain of tips in the case.

She expanded on the portrait of Spitzer’s sexual fetishes in graphic detail, the sources said, also divulging that he had a penchant for props.

Sources said the second hooker also noted that Spitzer liked to keep his socks on during sex – a claim previously made by Republican political operative Roger Stone.

Stone said a November letter he wrote to the FBI about Spitzer and prostitutes included details of the bizarre habit.

In addition to the Emperors Club VIP, Spitzer has been linked to an East Side escort service run by busted alleged madam Kristin “Billie” Davis, law-enforcement sources have said.

The scandal erupted on March 10, when Spitzer admitted he had “acted in a way that violates my obligations to my family.”

The feds began investigating after Spitzer’s bank tipped them about irregularities in an account that he used to pay for his sex romps.

Additional reporting by Andy Geller

MORE: ‘Madam’ Lawyer Wants DA To Bare All In Indictment

 http://www.nypost.com/seven/04242008/news/regionalnews/two_on_one_vs__spitzer_107850.htm

NY: HOW CO-ED BEGAN REIGN AT EMPERORS

By KATI CORNELL 

March 27, 2008 — A pal of the petite madam who ran the Emperors Club VIP has offered intimate details of how the pretty 23-year-old allegedly hooked up with her much older boyfriend to launch the high-end escort service that brought down the state’s governor. It was the summer of 2003 when Cecil Suwal, on a break from studying advertising at the University of Miami, answered a seemingly innocuous job posting by Mark Brener in a free weekly New York paper, Mehal Darji, 25, told The Post yesterday.

From then on, Suwal, an 18-year-old prep-school grad at the time, threw herself into her work and a sexual relationship with the then-57-year-old Brener – leaving behind a boyfriend and her education for the controlling older man.

An outgoing, spunky and wild teen, Suwal returned to school in Miami with a new zest for work that she’d learned from Brener – and a new tattoo that drove away her college beau.

“Cecil got the name ‘Mark’ tattooed near her private parts,” Darji said, adding that Suwal’s ex-boyfriend was a “nice guy” and was “very angry.”

“She was into photography and when she came back to Miami, she was showing me all her work. She would take photographs of models,” said Darji, who remembered looking at the Emperors Club VIP Web site.

Soon Brener, an Israeli widower who previously worked as a financial consultant, began visiting Suwal in Miami.

“Mark seemed like a control freak,” said Darji, who saw the pair approximately 12 times in Miami and later New York. “Personally, I didn’t like him. My friends didn’t like him.”

“She was saying Mark has this great idea of creating this upscale service, modeling company,” said the pal, who noticed fees climbed to thousands of dollars an hour.

“I said, ‘If this is escort, you know you can get in trouble,’ ” Darji said. “She said, ‘It’s not sex, it’s professional services.’ ”

By the end of 2004, Suwal dropped out of college and returned to live with Brener in an apartment in Cliffside Park, NJ, and Darji visited her several times up until 2006, witnessing increasingly bizarre behavior.

“Mark was very health-conscious. He made her quit smoking. He had to know what she does, where she goes, where she is at any time,” said Darji, recalling that Suwal often lied.

“She always had three phones. All of a sudden she’d answer and put on a different personality and say, ‘This is Katie,’ or whatever,” Darji said. “She seemed very tense and nervous and I guess always on the guard of what she said.”

kati.cornell@nypost.com
http://www.nypost.com/

Unintended Consequences

Newsweek

Spitzer got snagged by the fine print of the Patriot Act.
Mark Hosenball and Michael Isikoff
NEWSWEEK
Updated: 12:42 PM ET Mar 15, 2008
When Congress passed the Patriot Act in the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks, law-enforcement agencies hailed it as a powerful tool to help track down the confederates of Osama bin Laden. No one expected it would end up helping to snag the likes of Eliot Spitzer. The odd connection between the antiterror law and Spitzer’s trysts with call girls illustrates how laws enacted for one purpose often end up being used very differently once they’re on the books.

The Patriot Act gave the FBI new powers to snoop on suspected terrorists. In the fine print were provisions that gave the Treasury Department authority to demand more information from banks about their customers’ financial transactions. Congress wanted to help the Feds identify terrorist money launderers. But Treasury went further. It issued stringent new regulations that required banks themselves to look for unusual transactions (such as odd patterns of cash withdrawals or wire transfers) and submit SARs—Suspicious Activity Reports—to the government. Facing potentially stiff penalties if they didn’t comply, banks and other financial institutions installed sophisticated software to detect anomalies among millions of daily transactions. They began ranking the risk levels of their customers—on a scale of zero to 100—based on complex formulas that included the credit rating, assets and profession of the account holder.

Another element of the formulas: whether an account holder was a “politically exposed person.” At first focused on potentially crooked foreign officials, the PEP lists expanded to include many U.S. politicians and public officials who were conceivably vulnerable to corruption.

The new scrutiny resulted in an explosion of SARs, from 204,915 in 2001 to 1.23 million last year. The data, stored in an IRS computer in Detroit, are accessible by law-enforcement agencies nationwide. “Terrorism has virtually nothing to do with it,” says Peter Djinis, a former top Treasury lawyer. “The vast majority of SARs filed today involve garden-variety forms of white-collar crime.” Federal prosecutors around the country routinely scour the SARs for potential leads.

One of those leads led to Spitzer. Last summer New York’s North Fork Bank, where Spitzer had an account, filed a SAR about unusual money transfers he had made, say law-enforcement and industry sources who asked not to be identified because of the sensitivity of the probe. One of the sources tells NEWSWEEK that Spitzer wasn’t flagged because of his public position. Instead, the governor called attention to himself by asking the bank to transfer money in someone else’s name. (A North Fork spokesperson says the bank does not discuss its customers.) The SAR was not itself evidence that Spitzer had committed a crime. But it made the Feds curious enough to follow the money.