New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman (D) announced his resignation on Monday, just hours after a shocking report in The New Yorker detailed four of his former romantic partners’ accusations of physical abuse.
“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.”
He said he would officially resign at the close of business on Tuesday.
On Monday, Michelle Manning Barish and Tanya Selvaratnam went on the record to say that Schneiderman, 63, “repeatedly hit them, often after drinking, frequently in bed and never with their consent.” In one instance, Manning Barish said Schneiderman told her that “if you ever left me, I’d kill you.”
Two other women, quoted anonymously, had similarly troubling allegations of abuse.
Shortly after the report came out, Schneiderman tried to downplay the accusations.
“In the privacy of intimate relationships, I have engaged in role-playing and other consensual sexual activity,” he said in a statement. “I have not assaulted anyone. I have never engaged in nonconsensual sex, which is a line I would not cross.”
But just hours later, Schneiderman’s allies called on him to step aside, including New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, both Democrats.
“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,” Cuomo said shortly before Schneiderman’s resignation.
Schneiderman has long championed women’s causes and has been a vocal supporter of the Me Too movement. One of his more notable actions as a state senator involved legislation to protect women from domestic abuse, including his sponsorship of the Anti-Strangulation Act in 2010.
Manning Barish and Selvaratnam each told The New Yorker that Schneiderman had choked and slapped them, and said they’d sought medical help during or shortly after their relationships. At one point, Manning Barish said, Schneiderman told her “I am the law.” She said that once after slapping and choking her, Schneiderman told her that “hitting an officer of the law is a felony.”
As New York’s senior law enforcement official, Schneiderman took large steps to combat President Donald Trump’s agenda, including pushing to change state law so any Trump aides can be tried for criminal acts they’ve committed in New York even if they have been given a presidential pardon. His office also filed a suit against film producer Harvey Weinstein in February, alleging that Weinstein had sexually harassed women for years.
Schneiderman had been running for re-election in 2018 for what would have been his third term.
This story has been updated with further details from The New Yorker’s report.