DA Vance wants to be recused from Spitzer assault investigation

Prosecutor citing close ties to the former governor and Spitzer Enterprises head

Cyrus Vance Svetlana Travis Eliot Spitzer
Cyrus Vance, Svetlana Travis and Eliot Spitzer

Cyrus Vance, Manhattan’s district attorney, is seeking to recuse himself from the criminal investigation into assault accusations against Eliot Spitzer, submitting a formal request in court Wednesday.

A spokesperson for the DA cited “Mr. Spitzer’s personal and professional connections to this office,” and suggested that a prosecutor from a neighboring county could pursue the case instead, the New York Times reported.

Several of Vance’s top aides worked for Spitzer during his time as governor. In 2007, Spitzer appointed Vance to head the New York State Commission on Sentencing Reform.

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Svetlana Travis, a former escort hailing from Russia, accused Spitzer over the weekend of choking her in a suite at the Plaza Hotel.

Spitzer has acknowledged he was in the room, but denied that any assault took place. The Spitzer Enterprises head has said Travis was attempting suicide, and he sought to intervene.

Travis subsequently recanted her accusation and returned to Russia, leaving the criminal probe in flux. [NYT]Ariel Stulberg