“[H]e could still pull back at the last minute pending a plea agreement” with the feds, the report claims, but the Lieutenant Governor’s already telling people he’s the new sheriff in town so things seem a bit more final than that. The AP says it’ll be effective Monday; is that to leave him some wriggle room, a la Larry Craig, to change his mind?

Got several tasty updates coming but wanted to get this out there. Stand by.

Update: Re: the Craig theory, never mind — according to the Post, Paterson asked him to hold off until Monday so that the transition would be smoother.

Update: I wonder how CNBC got such a juicy scoop. Hmm.

Update: What was it that finally convinced Spitz to quit? The Marist poll? Nah, it was two things: The fact that even the Democrats in the state legislature don’t like him and wouldn’t have gone to bat for him plus the fact that his appetite for hookers is looking more voracious by the hour. From the Sun:

Throughout the day yesterday, Mr. Spitzer, holed up in his Fifth Avenue high-rise apartment, teetered between surrender and defiance, with one of his closest associates pleading with him not to give up and with a large number of his aides urging him to protect his family and step down.

The argument in favor of resignation ultimately prevailed and Mr. Spitzer, 48, conceded that Monday’s stunning disclosure that he was a regular customer of a high-priced prostitution service, Emperors Club VIP, left him with no choice but to accept that his once-soaring political career had crashed, aides told The New York Sun under condition of anonymity.

How regular? According to the Times story linked above, half a dozen times in the past eight months, and “[o]n some trips of several days’ duration, Mr. Spitzer scheduled more than one visit with a prostitute, this person said.” Back to the Sun for the awful denouement:

A source close to the governor said Mr. Spitzer and his wife of 20 years, Silda Wall, have spent the day in separate rooms in their apartment. They have emerged from their locations to speak jointly with Mr. Spitzer’s lawyers.

“She doesn’t want to look at him, and he doesn’t want to bear the look that she gives when she does look at him,” the source said.

I thought Mrs. Spitz was the one who wanted him to fight on.

Update: Echoes of Giuliani’s Judi Nathan expense scandal in this WaPo story about Spitzer dragging along his police guard to stand watch during his assignations, one of which was staked out by the feds back in January. How much did the state pay for his security?

A team of agents from New York and Washington was hurriedly dispatched to the hotel after an escort service employee was heard on a wiretap calling the front desk to say that flowers were being sent to Spitzer and wanting to confirm that he would be there, said a source knowledgeable about the investigation who requested anonymity in order to speak freely.

Spitzer spent part of the day and evening at the hotel, but if he had a date from the escort service, the agents did not see her or she did not show up.

Spitzer was accompanied to Washington by members of his police detail, who were apparently unaware of the FBI surveillance even though an officer from the detail watched the governor’s room from across the hall, through a cracked door.

Update: Be careful what you wish for, New York conservatives.

Update: Someone just forwarded me a screencap of what’s supposed to be “Kristen’s” page at the Emperors Club website but I’m going to hold off on posting it until there’s more confirmation. If it’s the real deal, it’ll be all over the ‘Net soon anyway.

Update: Word is now that the resignation will come at 11:30.

Update: Too good to check: “Gov. Eliot Spitzer himself sought to testify before a congressional subcommittee that hadn’t invited him to appear – possibly to give him an excuse to be away from home and see a hooker, officials revealed yesterday.”

Update: If nothing else good comes of this, at least it’s made Letterman funny again:

Update: What’s funnier, the headline or the story details?

Shortly before his pre-Valentine Day’s Washington, DC, hotel tryst with the call girl now publicly known as “Kristen,” Spitzer asked his aides in the Mayflower Hotel if they had a classical-music CD he could bring to his room, a witness said…

“At the time, he claimed it was to help him focus and concentrate,” the source said of Spitzer. “He said he was going to work late into the night.”

Update: Page Six has the alleged screencap of “Kristen” that was forwarded to me earlier. The description matches.