3rd guilty plea in Spitzer call girl ring

June 10, 2008 12:28:05 PM PDT
A man accused of running an escort service that led to former Gov. Eliot Spitzer's downfall will plead guilty, his lawyer said Monday.Murray Richman confirmed that Mark Brener, 62, will appear Thursday in federal court in Manhattan after negotiating a plea deal with the U.S. Attorney's office. Richman declined to discuss the details of the plea but called it "fair."

"I think it would be inappropriate at this time," he said.

Richman did say the deal would be similar to the one federal prosecutors reached with Cecil Suwal. The plea deal was reached about a week ago, he said.

Suwal, 23, ran the day-to-day operations of the escort service.

She pleaded guilty to a pair of federal conspiracy charges on June 3.

The plea bargain calls for Suwal, who has no criminal record, to receive between 21 and 27 months in prison - but a judge could depart from that recommendation.

A spokeswoman for the U.S. Attorney's office in Manhattan declined to comment Monday on the Brener plea deal.

Along with Suwal and Temeka Rachelle Lewis, one of the agency's bookers, Brener would be the third of four defendants to plead guilty in the high-profile case.

Prosecutors say that Spitzer was a client of the "Emperors Club V.I.P." Spitzer resigned ignominiously March 12, leaving his reputation in tatters. He has not been charged.

Lewis arranged a date between a prostitute with the pseudonym Kristen and a man identified in court papers as "Client-9," later revealed to be Spitzer. The pair's Feb. 13 rendezvous in Washington, D.C., was monitored by federal law enforcement.

She pleaded guilty in May to promoting prostitution and money laundering. Lewis agreed to tell everything to federal authorities but there was no provision in Suwal's arrangement calling on her to cooperate with investigators in the probe of the ring's activities.

Another hooker booker, Tanya Hollander, is also in plea talks with the federal government, her lawyer said. Michael C. Farkas said his client hopes to reach a resolution in the next couple of weeks.

"We've been actively discussing a plea with the government," Farkas said.

Brener, a widower and former financial consultant from Israel, had a license to represent taxpayers before the IRS. He lived in Cliffside Park, N.J. with Suwal - a former University of Miami student who graduated from a prestigious prep school.