New York Governor Spitzer likely to quit today

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New York, Mar.12 : The Governor of New York, Eliot Spitzer, is likely to resign today in the wake of revealtions that he has been soliciting and having flings with high-priced prostitutes.

Aides of the Governor, speaking on condition of anonymity, said Spitzer could hand over charge to Lt. Gov. David Paterson.

"The resignation will be coming [today], but I can't tell you the exact time at this point," one Spitzer administration official told the Daily News.

Another official, while less definite, called a departure on Wednesday "likely."

But there was no official confirmation of his intentions. Spitzer aides had said he was about to resign two days ago, hours after the scandal erupted. But instead the governor pleaded in a brief announcement for time with his family and went into hiding.

Adding to the state of confusion fed by Spitzer's silence, Paterson said he hasn't been informed of any such plans.

"If that is the case, no one has spoken to me about it," Paterson told The News at 10 p.m. on Tuesday.

He said he did not call Spitzer seeking clarification - and would not - based on his belief that if a resignation is in the works, the governor would tell him directly.

The 48-year-old Spitzer - who rode into office just 14 months ago promising to sweep away corruption and interest-peddling - has kept the state in suspense while seeking a deal with federal prosecutors to avoid jail time in exchange for giving up his office.

Word that the hooker-happy governor seemed ready to bow to demands for his exit came after he spent all day cloistered in his Fifth Avenue apartment with the wife Silda Wall Spitzer, and advisers.

A Spitzer associate told The News that he was consulting with a small circle: his wife; chief of staff Richard Baum; friend and aide Lloyd Constantine; lawyer Dietrich Snell; counsel David Nocenti, and lawyer Michele Hirshman, who was a top official in Spitzer's attorney general office.

Should Paterson take over, he would be the nation's fourth black governor ever, and the first legally blind one.

A source close to Paterson said he was starting to put together a transition team. Names floated included former state Controller Carl McCall; Jim Talent, a former assemblyman from Binghamton, and Barry Sample, a one-time aide to former Gov. Mario Cuomo.

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