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NYC comptroller candidate arrested for illegal drug sales

By Chris Francescani

NEW YORK (Reuters) - A former Manhattan madam who is running for New York City comptroller was arrested and charged with selling prescription pills for cash, the FBI said on Tuesday.

In the latest twist to the city's scandal-hit campaign season, Kristin Davis, 38, allegedly sold prescription pills to a federal informant four times in four months this year, the FBI said.

Davis is running for the post of comptroller - in effect the city's chief financial officer - also being sought by former Democratic New York Governor Eliot Spitzer.

Spitzer is attempting a political comeback after resigning as governor in 2008 amid a prostitution scandal. Davis has said Spitzer was one of her customers and that she provided him with prostitutes.

Polls show Spitzer tied with Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer in the Democratic primary, set for September 10.

Davis is charged with four counts of distributing and possessing with intent to distribute a controlled substance. Each count carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison, said George Venizelos, head of the FBI's New York office.

Following a federal court appearance on Tuesday afternoon, Davis was released on a $100,000 bond and ordered to surrender her passport and restrict her travel.

In court, she sat hunched over at the defense table, her hair in a ponytail, wearing a black sweater and slacks.

Her attorney Daniel Hochheiser said if Davis is indicted she will plead not guilty.

"Miss Davis is accused in a hearsay complaint based upon an unsworn statement of an admitted drug dealer seeking leniency at the expense of a high-profile target," he said following the bail hearing.

Davis spent four months in jail for her role in the prostitution scandal. Spitzer, 54, was never charged with any crimes.

Leaving the courthouse, Davis walked through a throng of reporters and cameras, declining to answer questions about how the charges could affect her candidacy, and hailed a taxi cab.

A Libertarian, she entered the race before Spitzer announced his candidacy.

Spitzer is not the only New York politician attempting this year to recover from scandal.

Anthony Weiner, who resigned from Congress in 2011 after saying he had accidentally sent a lewd picture of himself over Twitter, in May launched a campaign for mayor.

Last week he publicly defied calls by major newspapers to drop out after a website published racy text messages he sent subsequent to the earlier scandal.

(Reporting by Chris Francescani; Editing by Scott Malone, Ellen Wulfhorst and Prudence Crowther)

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