04/06/2009 at 08:05 AM EDT
Dealing with what he termed the 800-lb. gorilla in the room, Matt Lauer grilled former New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer on Monday's Today
show in an interview that ostensibly was conducted to reveal Spitzer's expertise on Wall Street and its current woes.
But first, the gorilla: After only 14 months in office, Spitzer resigned
his position in March 2008 after it was revealed he was a regular client
of a prostitution ring known as the Emperor's Club V.I.P.
In his first interview since the scandal, Spitzer, 49, downplayed his involvement with the service, saying he used it "not frequently … not long." The disgraced politician, saying there were "no excuses possible" for his behavior – which he repeatedly called "egregious" – also said that he is still frequently asked about important issues.
Even so, he said, "I've had flaws," and he has thought about them "deeply," he said, saying he has "tried to address these gremlins." He credits his "spectacular wife," Silda, and their three daughters "who are wonderful" for their understanding after they had to deal with "excruciating pain."
In their probe, federal prosecutors, who ultimately decided
not to charge Spitzer with any crime, looked into whether the politician – who built his professional reputation
as a dogged State Attorney General nicknamed "The Enforcer" – had possibly concealed or used laundered funds, or used campaign contributions for his prostitutes.