By Roger Stone
What do Chuck Berry, Frank Lloyd Wright, Charlie Chaplin, and Eliot Spitzer have in common? Answer: All of these men violated the federal Mann Act, but only one - Eliot Spitzer - was not prosecuted.
Officially named the White Slave Traffic Act, the Mann Act prohibits interstate transport of women "with intent that such individual engage in prostitution, or in any sexual activity for which any person can be charged with a criminal offense." The Mann Act carries a penalty of up to 20 years in prison.
Famed architect Frank Lloyd Wright and his mistress were accused of violating the Mann Act and arrested in Minnesota in 1926.
In 1944, actor and filmmaker Charlie Chaplin was prosecuted under the Mann Act in a case stemming from a paternity suit.
Rock 'n roll star Chuck Berry was accused of violating the Mann Act in 1959 for transporting a fourteen year old waitress, who was later charged with prostitution, across state lines. Berry served 20 months in prison, while Wright and Chaplin were eventually cleared.
When news of Spitzer's patronage of hookers first broke last year, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) said that Spitzer's arranging for a prostitute to travel from New York to meet him in D.C. constituted a violation of the Mann Act. Slate, Eliot's new employer, also suggested as much at the time.
Because Eliot Spitzer is rich, white and connected, he avoided prosecution while virtually everyone else in the scandal pled guilty and was sentenced. Spitzer was using the services of call-girl rings at the same time he was prosecuting them. In fact, Spitzer was buying sex the entire time he was the chief law enforcement officer of the state as well as Governor.
Not only was Spitzer not prosecuted, but he bitched that the charges for his frequenting prostitutes over the course of 10 years were not dismissed fast enough, while one of the women who supplied him with hookers sat on Rikers Island for four months.
Additionally, Spitzer should have been charged with violating federal money-laundering laws for having made payments to shell corporations controlled by Emperors' Club VIP.
It's true that the johns rarely get prosecuted and not charging Spitzer with paying a hooker makes sense - It is for the more serious crime he committed that Eliot Spitzer should have gone down.