New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo assigned a special prosecutor to investigate allegations that former state Attorney General Eric Schneiderman physically abused multiple women, according to a statement released Tuesday.
A New Yorker article published on Monday detailed the stories of four women who accused Schneiderman of abusing them, including slapping and choking them. Cuomo appointed Nassau District Attorney Madeline Singas as the special prosecutor tasked with investigating the allegations and whether any resources or staff members from the attorney general’s office facilitated the reported abuse.
A statement from the governor’s office emphasized that the integrity of the justice system is of “paramount importance.” Cuomo also referenced the need for Singas’ inquiry as the attorney general’s office has an open investigation into the sexual abuse allegations against former Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein.
“There can be no suggestion of any possibility of the reality or appearance of any conflict or anything less than a full, complete and unbiased investigation,” the statement given to the Times said. “The victims deserve nothing less.”
Schneiderman’s accusers say he assaulted them without their consent during sexual encounters. Two of the women, Michelle Manning Barish and Tanya Selvaratnam, told The New Yorker that Schneiderman, 63, “repeatedly hit them, often after drinking, frequently in bed and never with their consent,” forcing them to seek medical attention.
The former attorney general denied the accusations to The New Yorker but resigned shortly after the article went public on Monday.
“It has 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 late Monday. “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.”