By Bill Parry
Eric Schneiderman resigned as the New York attorney general Monday night just three hours after the release of a scandalous exposé in The New Yorker magazine revealed allegations of physical violence against women.
As a rising star in the Progressive wing of the Democratic Party, Schneiderman, 63, became a national leader of the resistance against the Trump administration and advocated for women as a supporter of the #MeToo movement, filing a lawsuit against disgraced film producer Harvey Weinstein in February.
The article was based on the accounts of four women with whom Schneiderman had been romantically involved who came forward with allegations of being violently slapped, choked, verbally abused, threatened and spat upon by Schneiderman during private alcohol-fueled encounters during the last several years.
Calls for Schneiderman’s resignation quickly followed, first from Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who urged him to resign “for the good of the office.” U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) and U.S. Rep. Grace Meng (D-Flushing) also called for his resignation and, just before 10 p.m., Schneiderman complied.
“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. “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.”
State Solicitor General Barbara Underwood will take over for Schneiderman as the acting attorney general and the state Legislature met in a joint session Tuesday morning to begin the selection process of Schneiderman’s replacement. Among the names being mentioned are state Sen. Michael Gianaris (D-Astoria), former U.S. Attorney Preet Bahrara and city Public Advocate Letitia James.
Schneiderman’s successor would serve until the end of his current term. Schneiderman had been running for re-election this fall.
Meanwhile, the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office launched a probe into the claims made by the four women.
Reach reporter Bill Parry by e-mail at bparr