Woman charged with extorting Eliot Spitzer pleads not guilty

Judge says Svetlana Travis is likely to face prison

Svetlana Travis (credit: Instagram) and Eliot Spitzer
Svetlana Travis (credit: Instagram) and Eliot Spitzer

Svetlana Travis, the Russian national who accused ex-governor Eliot Spitzer of choking her earlier this year, pleaded not guilty to charges that she extorted $400,000 from the real estate developer.

At the arraignment, Prosecutor Thomas Boyle asked to raise bail to $1 million and the judge implied that Travis would face prison time. “It’s either probation or state prison, no in between. I’m not sure probation is her outcome,” Judge Charles Solomon said, according to the New York Post.

Sign Up for the undefined Newsletter

Prosecutors say Travis began extorting money from Spitzer in 2014 by threatening to expose their relationship to the media and his family if he didn’t pay. Spitzer allegedly made payments to her ranging between $3,000 and $50,000 for a total of $400,000. Travis was arrested last month after returning from Russia.

The relationship between Spitzer and Travis, who prosecutors say was a high-priced call girl, became public in February, when she accused him of choking her in a Plaza Hotel room. Spitzer, who runs development firm Spitzer Enterprises [TRDataCustom], initially sued Travis for extortion, but withdrew his complaint last month. His firm is developing a large mixed-use project in Williamsburg and another in Hudson Yards.

In addition to the extortion, Travis is facing unrelated charges including fraud, forgery, and falsifying business records. The judge adjourned the case until Dec. 6. [NYP]Chava Gourarie