If there were any doubt that Eliot “Client 9” Spitzer has spiraled into further irrelevance, it was erased Friday afternoon in an embarrassing and bizarre shootout between the disgraced former NY Attorney General and CNBC’s Maria Bartiromo.
At issue were allegations that a trove of private emails may exist showing the former purchaser of high-priced prostitutes launched a personally motivated prosecution against former AIG chief Hank Greenberg. Of the eight charges Spitzer brought against Greenberg, six have been dropped, with the last two in the process of being dismissed, according to Greenberg’s lawyer. Still, throughout the interview Spitzer alleged numerous times that Greenberg engaged in “fraud,” despite the fact that no federal or state court has ever found as much.
“You can’t say ‘fraudulent’ because there’s no indictment. You can’t just throw around the word ‘fraud,’” challenged CNBC reporter Maria Bartiromo. “Why have six out of eight charges been dropped?”
Oddly, Spitzer then waved around an opinion from a case Greenberg was not involved in and that the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit vacated. Bartiromo then dropped a bombshell when she reported that on Tuesday, Spitzer allegedly made a chilling phone call to the law firm representing Greenberg (Boies Schiller) wherein he said: “I have a bazooka pointed at you and everyone else at your firm who is involved.”
Asked to confirm or deny the alleged comments, Spitzer sputtered, “No, I, I had a nice conversation with Nick Gravante” [a partner at Boies Schiller].
The alleged phone comments are in keeping with similar comments Spitzer has made to rivals. In 2005, he reportedly called former Goldman Sachs chief John Whitehead and declared “war” against him.
"It's now a war between us and you've fired the first shot," Whitehead quoted Spitzer as saying. "I will be coming after you. You will pay the price. This is only the beginning and you will pay dearly for what you have done.”
A spokesman for Spitzer denied he had threatened Whitehead and said the executive’s recollection of the call was “inaccurate.”
In 2000, NewsMax reported a similar incident involving a radio interview Spitzer did with Sean Hannity:
Spitzer called back off the air and allegedly threatened to "'use his capacity as Attorney General' against [Hannity] - according to the host's then-producer, Eric Stanger, who took the call.
After Stanger recounted Spitzer's words on-the-air, Hannity responded: "I'd like to know what that threat means. It's not my fault that he embarrassed himself on this radio show."
Toward the end of the Bartiromo interview, Spitzer lectured the CNBC reporter to “give a little deference to a guest, somebody who was the Attorney General who prosecuted these cases” and tried to convince Bartiromo to pretend she was under oath.
“If you were under oath right now...I’m going to be very serious with you right now, Maria.”
“I am not under oath for you and I am not in your courtroom!” Bartiromo shot back. “You are on my show!”
Finally, just when it seemed Spitzer couldn’t appear any more yesterday’s news, Client 9 put in a plug for a TV show he apparently hosts on that ratings juggernaut…Current TV.
After the sad and strange spectacle, a lawyer for Greenberg, Lee Wolosky, appeared with Bartiromo who said Spitzer’s train wreck of an interview was further evidence of Spitzer’s personal animus toward Greenberg and that Client 9 owes him a personal apology.