I don’t see how any governor can possibly stay in office if convicted of a federal felony. And if he violated the Mann Act, that is indeed a federal felony. To quote the relevant portion of the act: a felony, and upon conviction thereof shall be punished by a fine not exceeding five thousand dollars, or by imprisonment of not more than five years, or by both such fine and imprisonment, in the discretion of the court.
Now, I guess it could be that if Spitzer is REALLY tenacious, he could somehow try to plead down to a misdemeanor, and somehow try to hang on. But how the New York legislature would let him get away with it, without impeaching and removing him from office, is beyond me.
UPDATE: First, the current complaint does NOT charge Spitzer or any of the “johns,” but instead charges only the prostitutes and/or the, uh, pimps. That does not, of course, mean that the next legal shoe to drop can’t be indictments of the johns themselves — but as of now, there is not an officially alleged Mann Act violation by Spitzer. The second thing, though, is that Client 9 (allegedly Spitzer) clearly, unambiguously had an ongoing relationship with this “agency.” The complaint makes clear that the conversations back and forth explicitly mention past and future services as well. So this wasn’t some momentary lapse.Â Forget the moral judgments: Legally, these actions are against state and/or federal laws, laws that Spitzer himself used to aggressively prosecute. Repeated violations of these laws make it even more obvious that this isn’t some one-time problem — and that as a repeat offender, as it were, this governor absolutely ought to resign.