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A woman who accused Eliot Spitzer of assault was arrested for extortion

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A woman who accused former New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer of assault was arrested Monday night for trying to extort money from him, police told CBS News

Svetlana Zakharova, 26, was charged with grand larceny by extortion. She was also charged with forgery in an unrelated case. 

Police told CBS News Zakharova used a 67-year-old New Jersey man's information to sign a lease agreement that cost him $18,000. 

Zakharova, who is Russian, fled the country back in February after accusing Spitzer of assaulting her in a room at The Plaza Hotel. 

Spitzer's attorney, Adam Kaufmann, told the Associated Press that the woman called his client from California, where she was living, to tell him that she was returning to Russia and would pass through New York City. 

Kauffman said the two agreed to meet at the hotel and had a brief conversation before Spitzer left. 

Kauffman explained that Spitzer returned to the room a few hours later when the woman called him. 

Spitzer's attorney added that Zakharova had become "highly emotional and was threatening self-harm."

Two law enforcement officers familiar with the case told CBS New that Zakharova called 911, saying she was having a breakdown.


The officers, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said Zakharova tried to cancel the 911 call, but police were already on the way. 

Upon arrival, officers said Zakharova had cut her arm so they transported her to the hospital. At the hospital, she told doctors Spitzer had choked her. 

Zakharova said she did not want to press charges and flew to Russia the following day. 

No charges were ever filed against Spitzer. 

Zakharova is scheduled to appear in court on Tuesday. 

The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

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