Intrigue: Novak suggests GOP operative behind Spitzer fall
John Byrne
Published: Monday March 17, 2008

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Was a political operative behind the fall of New York Governor Eliot Spitzer?

That's the suggestion in a Sunday column by conservative columnist Robert Novak. A Republican operative, he's found, predicted the governor's fall specifically -- several months in advance.

"Republican political operative Roger Stone, Eliot Spitzer's longtime antagonist, predicted his political demise more than three months in advance," Novak writes. "Spitzer's entrapment by federal authorities investigating a prostitution ring raised speculation that Stone, with a 40-year record as a political hit man, somehow was behind it."

"Eliot Spitzer will not serve out his term as governor of the state of New York,'' Stone said Dec. 6 on Michael Smerconish's radio talk show," Novak added. "He gave no details."

Novak's post was titled "GOP strategists at work."

In an interview last week, Stone cheered the governor's demise, and hinted further that he'd known about the governor's fall.

"I didn't make him go to a prostitution ring," Stone told a Newsday columnist Mar. 12. "He did that all on his own."

Asked whether he had a hand in Spitzer's woes, Stone said, "No comment."

"I will say I knew it was coming," he added. "That's why I wasn't too upset about the results of the special election," where a Democrat won control of a formerly Republican seat in the State Senate, where the Republicans have a one-vote margin.

Speaking of the scandal Stone added cryptically: "My work isn't done there. Just watch."

Stone now runs an anti-Clinton political 527 group, Citizens United Not Timid, the acronym of which has sparked fury among liberal groups.

Alan Dershowitz, writing last week in the Wall Street Journal, averred that the story of Spitzer's 'capture' doesn't entirely ring true to career prosecutors.

"There is no hard evidence that Eliot Spitzer was targeted for investigation, but the story of how he was caught does not ring entirely true to many experienced former prosecutors and current criminal lawyers," Dershowitz wrote. "The New York Times reported that the revelations began with a routine tax inquiry by revenue agents 'conducting a routine examination of suspicious financial transactions reported to them by banks.' This investigation allegedly found 'several unusual movements of cash involving the Governor of New York.' But the movement of the amounts of cash required to pay prostitutes, even high-priced prostitutes over a long period of time, does not commonly generate a full-scale investigation."

"We are talking about thousands, not millions, of dollars. We are also talking about a man who is a multimillionaire with numerous investments and purchases," he added. "The idea that federal investigators would focus on a few transactions to corporations -- that were not themselves under investigation -- raises as many questions as answers."