Attorney general resigns after 4 women accuse him of abuse

Eric Schneiderman's career is finished, but the accusations that brought him down will have continuing ramifications for NY politics, including this year's election to succeed him as state attorney general and the race for governor.

Schneiderman announced his resignation from his post as the state's attorney general hours after a New Yorker story reported alleged abuse by him against four women. He says he strongly contests the allegations, which he calls unrelated to his professional conduct or operations of the office.Two of the women spoke on the record to The New Yorker.

NYPD officials said they had not received any complaints, but would investigate thoroughly should anyone come forward. "I have never engaged in non-consensual sex, which is a line I would not cross", he said.

Michelle Manning Barish and Tanya Selvaratnam, two of the four women who accused Schneiderman, told The New Yorker that he "repeatedly hit them, often after drinking, frequently in bed and never with their consent" and that it was "assault". When she fought back and managed to free herself, she says, he accused her of scratching him and said "hitting an officer of the law is a felony". "All of a sudden, he just slapped me, open-handed and with great force, across the face, landing the blow directly onto my ear", she told the New Yorker.

That sparked a flurry of speculation and toe dipping by prospective attorney general candidates on the Democratic and Republican sides, just as both parties prepare to nominate their statewide slates later this month. "I have not assaulted anyone", Schneiderman said. The prosecutor with this to hide at this time in U.S. history is enough to be nauseating even though Schneiderman resigned from his office within hours of the report posting.

Worse still, Democrats pressured Schneiderman's victims to keep quiet "because they thought that he had the power to do too much good for the Democratic Party", said Farrow.

"On the one hand, this is obviously a personal failing", says Iona College political scientist Jeanne Zaino, referring to the allegations against Schneiderman.

Schneiderman has pushed for reproductive and women's rights, supporting the work being done by Planned Parenthood throughout the state. "It's not about me personally, it's about the other advocates that work day and night to ensure the safety and well-being of women", Kluger told TIME. Hours before the scandal broke, Schneiderman tweeted Monday that he was leading eight attorneys general against EPA Secretary Scott Pruitt's "absurd plan" to limit the use of science in making decisions on public health and the environment.

"From all I hear, this Barbara Underwood, who is the current, like I said state solicitor general - she is very capable of running that office until there's an election", Assemblyman Ken Blankenbush said.

At the state Capitol, many were stunned at the rapid demise of the once-popular Democratic attorney general and began maneuvering to name a successor.

"I anticipate an extremely strong field", he said. Nixon remains a long shot, but Schneiderman's downfall will add resonance to her complaints.

Assembly Ways and Means committee chairwoman Helene Weinstein has been mentioned as a possible successor, but she said she's not interested.

The New York state Legislature will choose a replacement to fill out Schneiderman's term, which runs to the end of this year.

  • Rogelio Becker