On Monday, Eliot Spitzer’s lawyer said that the woman who’d accused him of choking her in a room at the Plaza Hotel Saturday had retracted her allegation and apologized in an email he shared with both the New York Times and Manhattan district attorney’s office.
“There is no case here,” Spitzer’s lawyer, Adam Kaufmann, said. “There was no assault.” Nevertheless, the NYPD is still investigating the woman’s allegations.
Initial reports indicated that the woman, who authorities have not named but who the New York Post identified as Svetlana Travis, called 911 to say that she was having a breakdown, and had cut her wrists. Police responded to the call, but were turned away by the ex-governor. “Everything’s fine. There’s no problem,” he reportedly told them. According to the Post:
The officers left, but called 911, telling an operator to phone Travis back. Travis told a dispatcher that she no longer needed help.
The cops went back anyway to check, although by then, she had left the room, the sources said.
After Spitzer opened the door a second time, the cops spied broken glass, bloodstains and clothing on the floor and started a search inside.
Travis reappeared, and the cops called EMS, which took her to Mount Sinai West Hospital, where she told staffers Spitzer had attacked her, sources said.
“This is someone that he had a relationship with in the past,” Kaufmann told the Times, although he would not say how how Spitzer and Travis knew each other. Apparently, Travis asked the attorney-turned-politician-turned-real-estate-developer to book a hotel room so they could meet up before she returned to Russia on Sunday. From the Times:
On Saturday afternoon, the former governor visited her at the Plaza and they talked for less than an hour — amiably, Mr. Kaufmann said — about her plans on her return to Russia.
Mr. Spitzer left the hotel but heard from her again a couple of hours later, he said. This time, she sounded distraught and asked to see him again.
According to the lawyer, Mr. Spitzer went back to the hotel around 7 and found her in “a highly agitated state.” Mr. Kaufmann said she threatened suicide, made a superficial cut in her wrist and called 911, but then tried to cancel the call.
Kaufmann said Travis flew to Russia as originally intended, and sent the email to Spitzer on Monday. “I just read the news, I’m so sorry,” she wrote in a copy of the email provided to the Times. Apparently she also offered to tell the police “that my report was all fake,” and that she had attempted suicide “as I had before.”
“You tried to save me,” she apparently wrote.
Update – 10:57 PM
Citing an anonymous source, Inside Edition reports that Svetlana Travis is the author of an article published by Matter in 2014, “Sex Is Sex, But Money Is Money.” The author of that piece identifies herself as a 24-year-old former escort living in New York City.
The New York Daily News has further details about the night of the alleged assault:
In the hours after the alleged scrap, Spitzer was caught on hotel video wearing a wool cap pulled down low over his eyes. While Travis was in the hospital, someone identifying himself as “George” called twice to ask about seeing her, sources said.
Later, a man believed to be the same person showed up using the name “George” to see her, but was told that at that point he couldn’t see her, sources said.
Police believe the caller and the visitor were Spitzer because hospital video shows him wearing the same wool cap, sources said.
Spitzer has been known to use the alias “George Fox” — the name of a longtime friend and supporter — when he was soliciting hookers in 2008.
Spitzer resigned as governor in 2008 amid reports that he had paid for sex with women employed by the escort service Emperors Club VIP. On Monday, the former prosecutor issued a statement night denying that Travis was his girlfriend.