Scott Stringer is backing away from charges that Eliot Spitzer laundered money in the New York city comptroller's race, claims that Stringer made during recent debates. NY1's Zack Fink filed the following report.
Scott Stringer made the accusation that Eliot Spitzer participated in money laundering several times during two recent city comptroller debates.
"I don't think that it's right that the person who runs for this office should be someone who has engaged in money laundering," Stringer said at a debate last Monday.
An article in Monday's New York Times points out that what Spitzer did to move money around in order to pay for prostitutes does not, in fact, amount to money laundering.
"'A', it's false. 'B,' the New York Times, in its story, made it eminently clear it was false. 'C,' everybody who's looked at it has concluded it's false," Spitzer said. "And it speaks more to the quality of his campaign than anything else."
After a review of the case, federal prosecutors declined to press charges against Spitzer.
Stringer was less assertive about the accusation on the campaign trail Monday.
"There is a debate as to what constitutes money laundering," Stringer said. "But think about how crazy this is. We're actually three weeks out from an election, and one of the candidates is trying to claim a victory by trying to say, 'Well, maybe it wasn't money laundering.' I mean, this year has just been incredible."
Stringer campaigned in Harlem with former Governor David Paterson. Some confused voters approached Stringer, thinking he is running against mayoral candidate Anthony Weiner.
"Well first of all, that's the problem with this two-ring circus," Stringer told one voter. "I'm not running against Weiner. I'm running against the other one."
Paterson, who endorsed Stringer before his old friend Spitzer got in the race, was asked several different ways why Stringer is the better candidate.
"I'm not going to answer the question why they should choose Scott over Eliot," Paterson said. "That's your question. I didn't ask that question, and I'm not answering it."
"David is a friend. David has been a friend for many, many years," Spitzer said. "We served in government together."
"Over the weekend, Stringer picked up the endorsements of the Daily News, the New York Post and the New York Times, all of which were much more assertive in their support than Paterson.