Who will watch the Watchers? A champion of “women’s rights” NY’s AG Schneiderman resigns amidst credible allegations he was abusive, violent and downright disgraceful. Women have come forward with allegations of his serious misconduct, including slapping a woman, threatening them with his power, excessive drinking and corruption. A news story alleging Eric Schneiderman, New York’s attorney general, choked and slapped women he was involved in relationships with was posted shortly before 7 p.m. Monday. Less than three hours later, after a flurry of calls for his resignation, Schneiderman did just that, effective end of business on Tuesday.
The resignation comes on May 8th just a day prior on May 7, 2018, New York Governor Andrew Coumo asked for Schneiderman’s resignation.
Schneiderman resigned his 8-year post as New York attorney general on Monday evening, just hours after the New Yorker story broke.
Four Women Accuse New York’s Attorney General of Physical Abuse
Eric Schneiderman has raised his profile as a voice against sexual misconduct. Now, after suing Harvey Weinstein, he faces a #MeToo reckoning of his own.
Schneiderman was elected to the New York State Senate in 1998, and served for twelve years. He wrote many laws, including one that created specific penalties for strangulation. He introduced the bill in 2010, after chairing a committee that investigated domestic-violence charges against the former state senator Hiram Monserrate, a Democrat, who was expelled from the legislature after having been convicted of assaulting his girlfriend. During the hearings, the legislators learned that New York State imposed no specific criminal penalty for choking, even though it is a common prelude to domestic-violence homicides. Not only did Schneiderman’s bill make life-threatening strangulation a grave crime; it also criminalized less serious cases involving “an intent to impede breathing” as misdemeanors punishable by up to a year in prison. “I’m just sorry it took us so long in New York State to do this,” Schneiderman declared at the time. “I think this will save a lot of lives.”
Jennifer Friedman, a legal expert on domestic violence, says that she cannot square Schneiderman’s public and private behavior. Anyone knowledgeable about intimate-partner violence, she says, knows that choking is “a known lethality indicator.” She adds, “I cannot fathom that someone who drafted the legislation on strangulation is unfamiliar with such concepts.” She also says, “A slap is not just a slap—it reverberates through the rest of the relationship, making her afraid of setting him off.” She adds, “People aren’t usually prosecuted for it, but, in the state of New York, slapping is assault when it results in pain or physical injury.”
In the summer of 2016, the attorney general may have crossed this line again. He went to a party in the Hamptons, where he drank heavily, and invited another guest—a woman he’d known for some time—to join him at an after-party. An accomplished Ivy League-educated lawyer with government experience, she had worked closely with his office in the past, and supported him politically. She says that she agreed to let a man in Schneiderman’s security detail drive them to the next destination. But, when they arrived at the house, there was no party; it was where Schneiderman was staying. The security officer left the property.
The lawyer and Schneiderman began making out, but he said things that repelled her. He told the woman, a divorced mother, that professional women with big jobs and children had so many decisions to make that, when it came to sex, they secretly wanted men to take charge. She recalls him saying, “Yeah, you act a certain way and look a certain way, but I know that at heart you are a dirty little slut. You want to be my whore.” He became more sexually aggressive, but she was repulsed by his talk, and pulled away from him. She says that “suddenly—at least, in my mind’s eye—he drew back, and there was a moment where I was, like, ‘What’s happening?’ ” Then, she recalls, “He slapped me across the face hard, twice,” adding, “I was stunned.”
Schneiderman hit her so hard, she says, that the blow left a red handprint. “What the fuck did you just do?” she screamed, and started to sob. “I couldn’t believe it,” she recalls. “For a split second, I was scared.” She notes that, in all her years of dating, she has never been in a situation like the one with Schneiderman. “He just really smacked me,” she says.
When she told him that she wanted to leave, she recalls, he started to “freak out,” saying that he’d misjudged her. “You’d really be surprised,” he claimed. “A lot of women like it. They don’t always think they like it, but then they do, and they ask for more.” She again demanded to be taken home. They got into his car, and it quickly became apparent how intoxicated he was. As he drove, weaving along back roads, she was terrified that he’d kill not just her but another driver. She says that Schneiderman “broke the law at least once that night.” (“This is untrue,” Schneiderman’s spokesperson said.)
The next day, she told two friends, and sent them a photograph of the mark on her face. (Both women corroborate this.) Another photograph of the lawyer, taken later that day at a family birthday party, shows faint raised marks splayed on her cheek. One of the friends says of Schneiderman, “He seemed not to know what the word ‘consent’ means.”
Given the woman’s prominence in the legal sphere, Schneiderman’s actions had exposed him to tremendous risk. Yet she took no official action against him. “Now that I know it’s part of a pattern, I think, God, I should have reported it,” she says. “But, back then, I believed that it was a one-time incident. And I thought, He’s a good attorney general, he’s doing good things. I didn’t want to jeopardize that.” She notes that he did not hit her again, after she protested. Nevertheless, she says of the assault, “I knew it was wrong,” adding, “Our top law officer, this guy with a platform for women’s rights, just smacked away so much of what I thought he stood for.”