WASHINGTON - New York Republicans are preparing to impeach Governor Eliot Spitzer -- unless he resigns first.
The state's top Republican is giving the governor just 48 hours to step down or he says the legislature will take action.
The state "cannot have this hanging over their heads," said Assembly Minority Leader James Tedisco.
To get articles of impeachment to the assembly floor, Tedisco would need support from the Democratic majority. Then according to New York law, if the measure passes, it would require two-thirds approval of the combined vote of the Republican-controlled Senate and the nine-member Court of Appeals to proceed.
Three New York newspapers have called for his ouster. The New York Post dubbed him "NY's naked emperor."
Spitzer has not yet been charged with any crime, but his suspected involvement in a high profile prostitution ring could end his political career.
The Sheriff of Wall Street
He spent decades prosecuting corruption, taking on cases that challenged Wall Street executives that earned him nicknames like "the Sheriff of Wall Street."
But now Spitzer faces his possible demise over a new nickname -- the man known as Client 9 in a prostitution investigation.
Spitzer's public apology on Monday followed accusations that he paid more than $4,000 for a prostitute. The affidavit says Spitzer was secretly recorded in a federal wiretap arranging to pay her way from New York City to a hotel in Washington just last month. The allegations were shocking.
"This is a governor who had tremendous promise, tremendous hope," said Tedisco. "And he's really turned that into unbelievable regret for the 18-and-a- half million people of New York state."
From wall street to main street, New Yorkers expressed disappointment and disgust.
Despite calls for his resignation, Spitzer did not say anything about leaving office in his brief statement Monday. Rather, he said he was taking time out for his family.
Legal analysts say it is unlikely he will face prostitution charges. They say it is how he paid for the service that might put him in legal jeopardy.
It's a crime to transport someone across state lines for prostitution.
Money Led to Call-Girl Ring
This investigation started out when Spitzer's bank notified the IRS about suspicious money transfers that led them to the high-dollar call girl ring.
Since he's been elected New York's governor, Spitzer has had his share of problems, including an unpopular plan to grant driver's licenses to illegal immigrants and a campaign against his political rivals. These new allegations are now his biggest concern in what virtually all political analysts believe is the end of his political career.
The state's lieutenant governor, David Paterson, will automatically becomes governor if Spitzer quits. There was no immediate comment from Paterson, who would become New York's first black governor.
Tedisco said Tuesday he received a call Monday from Paterson. He said Paterson raised the possibility of such a scenario by asking if Tedisco, who has been at odds with Spitzer, would be willing to start fresh with him.
"He called me to ask if we would give him the benefit of the doubt, and go forward," Tedisco said. "I told him we would."
Source: The Associated Press