New York

NY Attorney General Stepping Down Following Abuse Allegations

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman officially steps down at the end of the business day Tuesday after abruptly announcing his resignation following abuse allegations from four women.

Two women have gone on record, sharing their accounts with The New Yorker on Monday, saying they were allegedly berated, slapped and choked by Schneiderman during romantic relationships or encounters. Their alleged injuries, they say, were enough for them to later seek medical treatment.

According to the publication, Michelle Manning Barish and Tanya Selvaratnam say that during their relationships with Schneiderman, dating back to the 2013, he allegedly “repeatedly hit them, often after drinking, frequently in bed and never with their consent.”

Schneiderman allegedly warned one of his accusers “he could have her followed and her phones tapped,” according to the publication, and both Manning Barish and Selvaratnam said he “threatened to kill them if they broke up with him.”

According to the magazine, a third woman who was romantically involved with Schneiderman apparently told her story to the two other women, but was frightened to come forward.

A fourth woman alleges Schneiderman slapped her when she rebuffed him and asked to remain anonymous.

The New Yorker wrote that it confirmed the third womans accusations and viewed a picture of what the fourth woman claims was her injury.

Shortly after the article was published, Schneiderman denied the assault allegations, saying the relationships were consensual.

Statement from Eric T. Schneiderman:

"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 non-consensual sex, which is a line I would not cross."

— Eric T. Schneiderman (@Schneiderman) May 7, 2018

“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 non-consensual sex, which is a line I would not cross,” he said.

But after fellow New York Democrats, including Gov. Andrew Cuomo and U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, called for his resignation, he capitulated quickly.

“In the last several hours, serious allegations, which I strongly contest, have been made against me,” Schneiderman said in a statement late Monday. “While these allegations are unrelated to my professional conduct or the operations of the office, they will effectively prevent me from leading the offices work at this critical time.”

Schneiderman had been a champion of the #MeToo movement, suing Harvey Weinstein for alleged civil rights violations.

Jennifer Cunningham, Schneidermans ex-wife, said in a statement provided by Schneidermans representative Monday night that the “allegations are inconsistent with the man I know.”

“Ive known Eric for nearly 35 years as a husband, father and friend,” she said. “These allegations are completely inconsistent with the man I know, who has always been someone of the highest character, outstanding values and a loving father. I find it impossible to believe these allegations are true.”

After the story was published, accuser Manning Barish in a tweet said:

“After the most difficult month of my life-I spoke up. For my daughter and for all women. I could not remain silent and encourage other women to be brave for me. I could not.”

Selvaratnam issued a statement through a spokesperson Monday night in response to the report to reiterate the abuse was not consensual.

“After I found out that other women had been abused by Attorney General Schneiderman in a similar manner many years before me, I wondered, whos next, and knew something needed to be done,” the statement read. “So I chose to come forward both to protect women who might enter into a relationship with him in the future but also to raise awareness around the issue of intimate partner violence.”

Manning Barish said she was involved with Schneiderman from mid-2013 through the end of 2014. Selvaratnam said she was involved with him from the summer of 2016 until fall 2017.

The two women who spoke on record are described in the article as articulate, progressive, Democrat feminists in their 40s. They say were angered watching Schneiderman take such a visible role in the #MeToo movement.

The NYPD told CBS2 it has no complaints on file. Manhattan District Attoryney Cy Vance has now opened an investigation into the case.

Schneiderman, a former state senator, became attorney general in 2010 and had been running for re-election this year. Under the New York Constitution, a vacancy in the office is filled by the state Legislature.

He also has been a longtime critic of President Donald Trump, and has been part of several efforts to push back against some of his actions in the White House, like the rescinding of protection for immigrants brought to the U.S. illegally as children.

Last month, he urged state lawmakers to close a loophole that he said could be used to fight state charges by anyone who has received a federal pardon for similar federal charges.

On Twitter, Donald Trump Jr. showcased one of Schneidermans tweets from last year saying that he would remind President Trump that no one was above the law, with Trump Jr. adding, “You were saying???”

(© Copyright 2018 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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