New York AG Eric Schneiderman resigns after accusations of physical abuse by four women
WASHINGTON (Circa) -- New York attorney general Eric Schneiderman, who has previously positioned himself as a voice for #MeToo victims, has resigned after being accused by four women of physical abuse. The reports of abuse first surfaced in The New Yorker.
The former attorney general has denied the allegations against him but also says they will "effectively prevent me from leading the office's work at this critical time."
The full statement reads:
"It’s been my great honor and privilege to serve as Attorney General for the people of the State of New York. In the last several hours, serious allegations, which I strongly contest, have been made against me. While these allegations are unrelated to my professional conduct or the operations of the office, they will effectively prevent me from leading the office’s work at this critical time. I therefore resign my office, effective at the close of business on May 8, 2018."
Schneiderman, who sued Harvey Weinstein after the movie director's own accusations, is accused of hitting multiple women in bed after drinking without their consent. The women were allegedly slapped across the ear and face as well as choked to the point that they sought medical attention.
He is also accused of threatening to kill these women if they ever broke up with him.
"(He) never made any of these threats," a spokesperson for the attorney general told The New Yorker.
Two of Schneiderman's alleged victims, Michelle Manning Barish and Tanya Selvaratnam, consider the actions done against them as "assault."
“All of a sudden, he just slapped me, open handed and with great force, across the face, landing the blow directly onto my ear,” Manning Barish told the publication. “It was horrendous. It just came out of nowhere. My ear was ringing. I lost my balance and fell backward onto the bed. I sprang up, but at this point there was very little room between the bed and him. I got up to try to shove him back, or take a swing, and he pushed me back down. He then used his body weight to hold me down, and he began to choke me. The choking was very hard. It was really bad. I kicked. In every fibre, I felt I was being beaten by a man.”
One victim, who chose to remain nameless, says after she rebuffed an overture from Schneiderman, he slapped her in the face. The smack left a mark and lingered in pain the next day.
“In the privacy of intimate relationships, I have engaged in role-playing and other consensual sexual activity. I have not assaulted anyone. I have never engaged in nonconsensual sex, which is a line I would not cross,” Schneiderman said.
The attorney general also sent a statement from his ex-wife to The Associated Press.
"I've known Eric for nearly 35 years as a husband, father and friend. These allegations are completely inconsistent with the man I know, who has always been someone of the highest character, outstanding values and a loving father. I find it impossible to believe these allegations are true," Jennifer Cunningham said.
After The New Yorker's expose was released, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo released a statement calling for the attorney general to resign.
"The New Yorker has published an article on Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, which reports multiple women making serious allegations of assault. No one is above the law, including New York's top legal officer. I will be asking an appropriate New York District Attorney to commence an immediate investigation, and proceed as the facts merit," Cuomo said. "My personal opinion is that, given the damning pattern of facts and corroboration laid out in the article, I do not believe it is possible for Eric Schneiderman to continue to serve as Attorney General, and for the good of the office, he should resign."