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New York Attorney General quits amid abuse reports

BY: BBC
Eric Schneiderman is one of America's top lawyers and has been a vocal supporter of women's rights
Eric Schneiderman is one of America's top lawyers and has been a vocal supporter of women's rights

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

The resignation came after the New Yorker magazine published a report quoting the women who accused Mr Schneiderman, 63, of hitting them.

Two identified themselves as former girlfriends of his.

Mr Schneiderman - who contests the allegations - has been a vocal supporter of the #MeToo movement against sexual harassment.

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

He later said he "strongly contests" the allegations but would step down.


"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.

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo had called for Mr Schneiderman's resignation, following the reports.

"No-one is above the law, including New York's top legal officer," he said. "I do not believe it is possible for Eric Schneiderman to continue to serve as attorney general."

Mr Cuomo said he would ask a prosecutor to investigate the allegations.

Two women - Michelle Manning Barish and Tanya Selvaratnam - told The New Yorker that Mr Schneiderman had repeatedly hit them, often after drinking heavily.

Both women also said he had threatened to kill them if they ended the relationship.

"After the most difficult month of my life - I spoke up," Ms Manning Barish wrote on Twitter after the allegations were published.

"For my daughter and for all women. I could not remain silent and encourage other women to be brave for me."

Last month, the New Yorker won a joint Pulitzer Prize with the New York Times for its reporting on sexual harassment in Hollywood.

The reports brought down film mogul Harvey Weinstein, who has denied dozens of sexual misconduct allegations.

As New York state's chief prosecutor, Mr Schneiderman in February brought legal action against Mr Weinstein.

The lawsuit alleged that he abused female employees and threatened to kill staff members.

Mr Schneiderman, a long-term advocate of women's rights, spoke out against sexual harassment and intimidation after he announced the lawsuit.

The Democrat has also been a vocal opponent of Republican President Donald Trump and his New York office had launched a number of legal challenges against the administration.

Presidential counsellor Kellyanne Conway posted a tweet from Mr Schneiderman in which he says he will continue to remind Mr Trump that no-one is above the law. Her own tweet simply says "Gotcha."


Credit: BBC

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