NY Attorney General Eric Schneiderman Resigns After Women Accuse Him Of Assault
Updated 9:50 p.m.
New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman announced his resignation on Monday, hours after The New Yorker published allegations by four former romantic partners accusing him of physical abuse.
The women said that Schneiderman repeatedly hit them, often while intoxicated and sometimes as part of violent sexual roleplay to which they did not consent.
After state political leaders, including Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, called for him to step down, Schneiderman announced that he would resign at the end of the day on Tuesday.
“It’s been my great honor and privilege to serve as Attorney General for the people of the State of New York,” Schneiderman said in a statement. “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.”
One woman, Michelle Manning Barish, who dated Schneiderman from 2013 to 2015, told The New Yorker that Schneiderman once choked her after slapping her so hard on the ear that she suffered hearing irregularities for months afterwards.
“I want to make it absolutely clear,” she told The New Yorker. “This was under no circumstances a sex game gone wrong. This did not happen while we were having sex. I was fully dressed and remained that way. It was completely unexpected and shocking. I did not consent to physical assault.”
Schneiderman denied the allegations. “In the privacy of intimate relationships, I have engaged in role-playing and other consensual sexual activity,” he said in a statement to the magazine. “I have not assaulted anyone. I have never engaged in nonconsensual sex, which is a line I would not cross.”
Manning Barish also says that Schneiderman consumed large amounts of alcohol and prescription tranquilizers.
Another former girlfriend, Tanya Selvaratnam, claimed that Schneiderman would “tell me to call him Master, and he’d slap me until I did.” She also says that Schneiderman told her he could have her phones tapped, and threatened to kill her if he broke up with her. Schneiderman’s spokesperson denied that he made those threats.
Selvaratnam also said that Schneiderman drank heavily, and stated that Schneiderman had told her that he accidentally cut himself while falling after heavily drinking two days before President Trump’s inauguration. But, she says, Schneiderman told her to tell people that he had fallen while running. A Schneiderman spokesman said that Schneiderman fell and cut himself while completely sober, but that because the injury occurred in the bathroom, he told his staff that he had fallen while running.
Schneiderman has portrayed himself as an advocate for women, launching re-investigations of past criminal complaints against disgraced Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein and accepting awards from pro-choice organizations. When serving in the New York State Senate, he introduced a law strengthening penalties against choking, noting that such behavior is often a prelude to further domestic violence.
He has also been a prominent antagonist of President Trump, suing Trump University for civil fraud and pledging to pursue state criminal cases against those whom Trump pardoned on a federal level.
The article was written by Jane Mayer and Ronan Farrow, the latter of whom was one of the first to report sexual assault allegations against Weinstein.