8 May 2018

New York Attorney General quits amid abuse reports

2:54 pm on 8 May 2018

New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman has resigned following allegations of assault by four women.

Former NY Attorney General Eric Schneiderman.

Former NY Attorney General Eric Schneiderman. Photo: AFP

The resignation came after The New Yorker magazine published a report quoting the women who accused Mr Schneiderman of hitting them.

Two identified themselves as former girlfriends of his.

Mr Scheiderman - who denied the allegations - had been a vocal supporter of the #MeToo movement against sexual harassment.

Governor Andrew Cuomo called for Mr Schneiderman's resignation within hours of the article's publication.

"In the last several hours, serious allegations, which I strongly contest, have been made against me," Mr Schneiderman said in a statement. "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."

The New Yorker reported that four women who said they had had romantic relationships or encounters with Mr Schneiderman said they had been subjected to nonconsensual physical violence.

Two of the women who spoke to the magazine "alleged that he repeatedly hit them, often after drinking, frequently in bed and never with their consent."

One of the women said Mr Schneiderman slapped her across the face after she rejected his advances and that when she told him she wanted to leave, he said: "A lot of women like it. They don't always think they like it, but then they do, and they ask for more," according to the article.

"In the privacy of intimate relationships, I have engaged in role-playing and other consensual sexual activity," Mr Schneiderman said in the statement. "I have not assaulted anyone. I have never engaged in non-consensual sex, which is a line I would not cross."

In his statement late on Monday, Mr Cuomo said he would ask a New York district attorney to investigate the accusations against Mr Schneiderman, who is the state's highest law enforcement official.

"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," Mr Cuomo said in his statement.

Mr Schneiderman has been New York State's attorney general since late 2010. He has been a high-profile proponent of the #MeToo movement, which has seen accusations of sexual misconduct leveled against prominent men in politics, media, entertainment and business, including Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein.

In February, Mr Schneiderman sued the Weinstein Company and Mr Weinstein himself, alleging years of sexual harassment and misconduct by the movie producer.

- BBC / Reuters

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