NY attorney general Eric Schneiderman resigns after 4 women accuse him of physical abuse


(JTA) — New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman resigned hours after The New Yorker published a report detailing allegations against him by four women who said that he physically abused them.

Schneiderman announced his resignation in a statement issued on Monday evening.

“In the last several hours, serious allegations, which I strongly contest, have been made against me,” he said in the statement. “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, 63, has been an active supporter of the #MeToo movement, including bringing legal action in New York against disgraced film producer Harvey Weinstein, who has been accused of sexually assaulting women.

Two of the women named in the article, Michelle Manning Barish and Tanya Selvaratnam told the magazine that Schneiderman hit them and choked them without consent, and that it often occurred after drinking and in the bedroom. Some of the incidents required medical treatment, they said, though they did not file police reports about the incidents. They also said that Schneiderman threatened to kill them if they stopped seeing him.

Two other women, who were not named, said they experienced similar violence in their relationships with Schneiderman.

Schneiderman said in a statement after the article appeared online: “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.”

Shortly after Schneiderman’s resignation was announced, the Manhattan District Attorney’s office said it had opened an investigation into the allegations against Schneiderman.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, both Democrats like the Schneiderman,  called for the attorney general’s resignation immediately after the article appeared. Gillibrand had led the effort to remove Minnesota Senator Al Franken from the Senate after sexual misconduct allegations were leveled against him.

Schneiderman’s ex-wife, Jennifer Cunningham, told The New York Times that the “allegations are completely inconsistent with the man I know, who has always been someone of the highest character, outstanding values and a loving father.”

As a state senator he supported legislation to help abused women, and the attorney general’s office has published a “Know Your Rights” brochure for victims of domestic violence, the Times reported.

In 2016, the Anti-Defamation League condemned a rash of anti-Semitic attacks levied against Schneiderman after he announced his office would open an investigation into the Donald J. Trump Foundation. Local Jewish groups often praised Schneiderman, who attends synagogue on Manhattan’s Upper West Side, for his defense of religious rights in the workplace and his focus on hate crimes.

“My work for justice is very much grounded in what I see as the Jewish tradition’s commitment to justice,” he told JTA in a profile a year ago.

The New Yorker article was co-authored by Jane Mayer and Ronan Farrow; Farrow won a Pulitzer Prize for his revelations about Weinstein.


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