Friday, December 23, 2005

Glad You Didn't Take It Personally

New York Attorney General Elliot Spitzer has made a name for himself with agressive, high profile prosecutions. In some cases, Martha Stewart's "insider trading" for example, there turned out to be less to the charges than claimed. Earlier this year Spitzer held a press conference promising a criminal indictment for fraud against Hank Greenberg An indictment never came and the case was quietly dropped the day after Thanksgiving (subscription link).

In response to Spitzer's public smear of a respected colleague John C. Whitehead wrote a column in the Wall Street Journal decrying the tactic. That might have been the end of it, but today Whitehead continued the story with this bizarre revelation:
After reading my op-ed piece [last April], Mr. Spitzer tried to phone me. I was traveling in Texas but he reached me early in the afternoon. After asking me one or two questions about where I got my facts, he came right to the point. I was so shocked that I wrote it all down right away so I would be sure to remember it exactly as he said it. This is what he said:

"Mr. Whitehead, it's now a war between us and you've fired the first shot. 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. You will wish you had never written that letter."
I tried to interrupt to say he was doing to me exactly what he'd been doing to others, but he wouldn't be interrupted. He went on in the same vein for several more sentences and then abruptly hung up. I was astounded. No one had ever talked to me like that before. It was a little scary.
Indeed. Don't worry though, once Spitzer becomes governor of New York, he's bound to calm down.

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