WASHINGTON (CNN) - In his first public words about the Justice Department investigation involving New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer, U.S. Attorney General Michael Mukasey said Friday that he had become aware of the case only recently, and stressed that he played no role in decisions to pursue the prostitution ring that ensnared Spitzer.
"I learned a couple of weeks ago," Mukasey said. "... I did learn of it, but it was informational, not a matter of authority."
The attorney general stressed the U.S. attorney offices report directly to the deputy attorney general, not to him.
Aides to Mukasey said earlier this week U.S. Attorney Michael Garcia in New York, where the investigation is centered, did not seek authorization from the deputy attorney general - nor in this case did he have to do so.
As the investigation culminated, Acting Deputy Attorney General Craig Morford was leaving the post, and newly confirmed Deputy Mark Filip was arriving at the Justice Department.
Mukasey emphasized that no charges have yet been brought against Spitzer.
"We have no case against Eliott Spitzer. We have a case in which people have been charged, in which it has been alleged that he was customer - number 9 is, I think, the designation. That's all we have. I underline: no case against Eliot Spitzer."
A senior Justice Department official promptly stressed that Mukasey was simply referring to the fact that no charges against Spitzer have been brought by his New York prosecutors, and his comments should not be taken to suggest that charges will or will not be brought against Spitzer.
Mukasey made his comments in response to a question from CNN's Paula Newton as he spoke to reporters at the London School of Economics, where he met with British officials to discuss international crime and counter-terrorism issues.
Related video: Watch Mukasey on Spitzer