‘Great Honor and Privilege’
Eric Schneiderman Resigns After Democrats Condemn ‘Abhorrent’ Abuse Claims
New York’s attorney general denied the ‘serious allegations’ against him, but he stepped down hours after they were published.
This article has been updated.
New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman resigned Monday night, following allegations that he physically abused four women.
“It’s 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, hour after a bombshell report in The New Yorker. “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. I therefore resign my office, effective at the close of business on May 8, 2018.”
The four women, two of whom gave on-the-record interviews, accused Schneiderman of beating and choking them, actions the women characterized as “assault.” Schneiderman denied the allegations through a spokesperson. Shortly after the bombshell report, New York politicians called on Schneiderman to step down as attorney general.
“The New Yorker has published an article on Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, which reports multiple women making serious allegations of assault,” Schneiderman’s fellow Democrat, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, said in a statement Monday night.
“No one is above the law, including New York’s top legal officer. I will be asking an appropriate New York District Attorney(s) to commence an immediate investigation, and proceed as the facts merits. My personal opinion is that, given the damning 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.”
Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) issued a similar call shortly thereafter.
“The violent actions described by multiple women in this story are abhorrent,” Gillibrand said in a statement Monday night. “Based on the extensive and serious reporting, I do not believe that Eric Schneiderman should continue to serve as Attorney General. There should be a full and immediate investigation into these credible allegations.”
Carl Heastie, speaker of the New York state Assembly—whose members will effectively decide on Schneiderman’s replacement—had issued a statement that stopped just short of explicitly calling for his resignation.
These are very serious allegations. I support Governor Cuomo's call for a thorough investigation," Heastie said in a statement. "I support Governor Cuomo's call for a thorough investigation. Based on what has been reported, I believe it will be very difficult for Eric Schneiderman to continue as New York State Attorney General."
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio did not issue a statement immediately; his spokesperson Eric Phillips tweeted that de Blasio had seen the report and would address it on Tuesday.
The allegations against Schneiderman are particularly jarring in light of his history as a prosecutor, where he has attempted to establish himself as a defender of women. Schneiderman is currently pursuing legal action against Harvey Weinstein, the disgraced movie producer accused of countless cases of sexual abuse.
Even though he has resigned, Schneiderman will now face an investigation, likely by Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance Jr. The #MeToo movement has already strained relations between Schneiderman and Vance. Earlier this month, Cuomo tasked Schneiderman with investigating Vance’s decision not to pursue criminal charges against Harvey Weinstein in 2015.