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Anti-Weinstein Prosecutor Eric Schneiderman Resigns After Accusations of Abuse Against 4 Women

New York Attorney General accused of nonconsensual physical violence on Monday

Just hours after being accused of physical violence against multiple women in a New Yorker story published Monday, New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman has resigned and will step down Tuesday.

“It’s been my great honor and privilege to serve as Attorney General for the people of the State of New York. In the last several hours, serious allegations, which I strongly contest, have been made against me,” Schneiderman said in a statement Monday night. “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. I therefore resign my office, effective at the close of business on May 8, 2018.”

Schneiderman, who in February filed a civil rights lawsuit against Harvey Weinstein, was accused of abusing four women, including two who agreed to be named by the New Yorker, Michelle Manning Barish and Tanya Selvaratnam. The women 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 New Yorker reported.

Schneiderman defended his conduct as “role playing and other consensual sexual activity” undertaken “in the privacy of intimate relationships” in a statement prior to his resignation Monday night. He denied committing assault and said he has “never engaged in nonconsensual sex, which is a line I would not cross.”

Selvaratnam however 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.”

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

A fourth woman said that after rejecting 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.

Schneiderman’s resignation came just minutes after New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo called on him to step down. “No one is above the law, including New York’s top legal officer,” Cuomo said in a statement Monday night. “I will be asking an appropriate New York District Attorney to commence an immediate investigation, and proceed as the facts merit. 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, and for the good of the office, he should resign.”