HLS Prof Reacts to Spitzer Struggles

Dershowitz chimes in on alleged john, HLS alumnus, New York governor

In the early 1980s, while studying at Harvard Law School (HLS), Eliot L. Spitzer worked as a research assistant for one of his professors. Today, that professor has come to Spitzer’s defense as the governor of New York finds himself embroiled in a public controversy after evidence surfaced linking him to a prostitution ring.

Alan M. Dershowitz has talked to various media outlets, including ABC’s Boston affiliate and the New York Times, about his take on the situation, in the midst of widespread criticism and numerous calls for Spitzer’s immediate resignation.

“Men don’t use their brains when it comes to something like this,” he said on a call to MSNBC. “They think with a different part of their body...And when people think with that organ of the body, they make these kind of really, really terrible mistakes.”

Dershowitz declined requests to comment for The Crimson.

Spitzer briefly addressed the public in a press conference on Monday, and has made no public statements since.

“I have acted in a way that violates my obligations to my family and violates my or any sense of right and wrong,” he said, as his wife, Silda Wall, stood by his side.

Just a few months ago, Spitzer received press of a very different kind. The cover of the Winter 2007 issue of the Harvard-focused 02138 magazine shows a black-and-white photo of Spitzer and Wall, behind the headline “Power Couples.” Pictures taken during his public appearance on Monday, in contrast, revealed a tense Spitzer shadowed by a visibly distraught Wall.

Spitzer and Wall met at the Law School. They both graduated in 1984 and got married three years later.

Dershowitz called the scandal a “uniquely American story.” But the BBC lists the Spitzer scandal as the top news story on its Web site.

“Big deal. Married man goes to prostitute. In Europe, this wouldn’t even make the back pages of the newspaper,” Dershowitz said.

Spitzer served as New York State attorney general for eight years and was elected governor in 2007.

A wiretap caught Spitzer in Washington, D.C. negotiating a meeting with a “model” named Kristen, an employee of the Emperors Club VIP, an “international prostitution and money-laundering ring,” according to law enforcement authorities.

Ironically, in 2004 Spitzer announced the arrest of 16 people operating a prostitution ring in Staten Island and condemned their behavior.

Late yesterday afternoon, the Republican leader of the New York State Assembly gave Spitzer 48 hours to quit before he would start calling for impeachment proceedings, according to the Washington Post.