Wed, May 09, 2018 - Page 1 News List

NY attorney general resigns after being accused of abuse

‘NOT CONSENSUAL’:Four women have accused Eric Schneiderman, a longtime Trump critic, of physical and verbal abuse during intimate encounters


New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman speaks at a rally to defend DACA in New York City on Sept. 5 last year.

Photo: AFP

New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, who held himself out as a champion of women and a liberal foil to US President Donald Trump, yesterday resigned from office after four women accused him of physical violence during intimate encounters.

It was a swift and stunning fall for a Democrat who had pledged to use the power of his office to hold others accountable for abusing their power.

In accounts published in The New Yorker on Monday, the women described being violently slapped and choked, verbally abused and threatened by Schneiderman. Some also described him as a heavy drinker.

The abuse often happened during what were supposed to be romantic encounters, but the women said the violence was not consensual.

Schneiderman, 63, issued a statement to The New Yorker, and later to other media outlets, implying that his conduct was either welcomed by the women, or was not as they described.

“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,” he said.

However, after fellow Democrats in New York, including Governor Andrew Cuomo and US Senator 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,” he said in a statement late on Monday. “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 resign at the close of business yesterday.

Two women who spoke to the magazine on the record, Michelle Manning Barish and Tanya Selvaratnam, both said the physical abuse escalated over time.

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 last year.

Manning Barish said Schneiderman became violent a few weeks after they began dating.

Selvaratnam, who was born in Sri Lanka, said Schneiderman started calling her his “brown slave” and made her say that she was “his property.”

“After I found out that other women had been abused by Attorney General Schneiderman in a similar manner many years before me, I wondered, who’s next, and knew something needed to be done,” Selvaratnam said in a statement.

Schneiderman has been a vocal supporter of the #MeToo movement. He filed a lawsuit in February against movie producer Harvey Weinstein and Weinstein Co following a probe into allegations of sexual misconduct.

He also has been a longtime critic of Trump and has been part of several efforts to push back against some of his actions, such as the rescinding of protection for immigrants brought to the US illegally as children.

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