Eric Schneiderman, Anti-Weinstein Prosecutor, Accused of Abusing 4 Women; He Claims ‘Role-Playing’ in Defense

New York Attorney General filed a civil-rights lawsuit against Harvey Weinstein

Last Updated: May 7, 2018 @ 5:44 PM

New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, who took on Harvey Weinstein after reports of the disgraced mogul’s sexual misconduct, now faces allegations of his own: Four women have accused him of nonconsensual physical violence, the New Yorker reports.

Two of the women, Michelle Manning Barish and Tanya Selvaratnam, told the magazine that Schneiderman “repeatedly hit them, often after drinking, frequently in bed and never with their consent,” New Yorker writers Jane Mayer and Ronan Farrow reported on Monday. Neither woman took the accusations to police at the time, “but both say that they eventually sought medical attention after having been slapped hard across the ear and face, and also choked,” the magazine said.

Selvaratnam said Schneiderman warned that he could have her followed and her phones tapped, and both women said he threatened to kill them if they dumped him. A spokesman for Schneiderman, 63, said he “never made any of these threats.”

“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,” Schneiderman said in a statement.

A third ex-romantic partner of Schneiderman’s told the two women who came forward that he also repeatedly abused her, but that she was afraid to speak out, The New Yorker said. The magazine said it had independently vetted the accounts that Manning Barish and Selvaratnam provided of the third woman’s accusations.

A fourth woman said that when she rebuffed an advance by Schneiderman, he slapped her across the face, leaving a mark that remained until the next day. She screamed and began to cry, the magazine said. Though she asked not to be identified, the magazine said, she provided the reporters with a photograph documenting the injury.

On Feb. 11, four months after the New York Times and New Yorker published accounts of widespread sexual harassment and abuse by Weinstein, Schneiderman filed a civil rights lawsuit alleging “egregious violations of New York’s civil rights, human rights, and business laws.” The suit named The Weinstein Company, Harvey Weinstein and his brother and co-founder, Bob Weinstein.

The lawsuit accused Weinstein of doing some of the things the women now say Schneiderman did to them. Among other things, Schneiderman’s complaint contended that Harvey Weinstein told employees “I will kill you” or “I will kill your family,” or words to that effect.

The New Yorker noted that women’s groups have praised Schneiderman for his activism on behalf of feminist causes. But Manning Barish said that support is a lie. “You cannot be a champion of women when you are hitting them and choking them in bed, and saying to them, ‘You’re a f—ing whore,’ ” she told the magazine.

She said of Schneiderman’s involvement in the Weinstein case, “How can you put a perpetrator in charge of the country’s most important sexual-assault case?”

Both Manning Barish and Selvaratnam are feminist progressives who, like, Schneiderman, are Democrats. Schneiderman, a former state senator, was first elected as New York Attorney General in 2010 and re-elected in 2014 — winning both times with 56 percent of the vote.

In addition to suing Weinstein, Schneiderman has also targeted President Donald Trump. Last month, he moved to change New York state law so that prosecutors could still bring charges against any White House aides Trump may attempt to pardon. Schneiderman led the investigation of Trump University that resulted in a $25 million settlement soon after Trump was elected.

Trump has called Schneiderman “the nation’s worst AG” and accused him of wearing “Revlon eyeliner.”