Eliot Spitzer, with his wife in her new role as “sympathy prop,” has resigned. But he showed no sign that he’s aware of the depth of his offense. Twice referring to his sins as “private,” he doled out a large helping of self-congratulation for the work he did as governor. Is he that dense, not to realize his actions are criminal? That his offense is an abuse of the public’s trust? Maybe. He may, with his world-class ego, simply be unwilling to accept the fact that he is a common criminal like so many he has prosecuted.
The other explanation is that he understands all too well that he is in deep trouble. Standing guard at Spitzer’s side was Ted Wells, criminal defense lawyer supreme (Scooter Libby was a client), who no doubt has been trying to work out a plea deal for his newest client. The feds apparently did not value Spitzer’s resignation as much of a bargaining chip, and the prospect of prosecution under multiple felony statutes still looms over him. So it is, for now, better for him to cop to “private” sins than to public, criminal ones.