BREAKING: NY Attorney General Schneiderman Resigns Amid Sex Abuse Scandal

New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman

STATEMENT BY ATTORNEY GENERAL ERIC T. SCHNEIDERMAN

“It’s been my great honor and privilege to serve as Attorney General for the people of the State of New York. 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.”

NYS Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, a rising Democrat and prominent #MeToo supporter, was accused of violence toward four women in a bombshell story posted on the New Yorker magazine website on Monday evening. Schneiderman strongly denied allegations that he was violent toward four women with whom he had romantic relationships. In an earlier statement, Schneiderman had suggested some of the allegations involved “role play” between consenting adults.

In separate statements to NBC News, Schneiderman and his ex-wife, lobbyist Jennifer Cunningham denied the accounts.

Governor Andrew Cuomo called for his resignation. A number of prominent Democrats including US Senator Kirsten Gillibrand and Syracuse mayor Stephanie Miner also had called on Schneiderman to step down. NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio was reticent on whether the scandal-scarred Attorney General should resign. Cuomo also called for an investigation into some of the allegations made in The New Yorker.

In a statement Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie said: “These are very serious allegations. 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.”

Shortly before Schneiderman announced his intention to resign, NY State Senate Majority Leader John J. Flanagan stated: “The allegations outlined in the New Yorker this evening are deeply troubling and indefensible. The Attorney General has lost the ability to serve the people of New York and to lead this important office. He must resign immediately.”

“The descriptions by these brave women of the physical and sexual abuse they suffered at the hands of NY Attorney General Eric Schneiderman are sickening. It is the right decision for him to resign immediately. The women who came forward so courageously to tell their stories and spared others from suffering are heroines. The investigation should continue. We need to get to the bottom of the enormous culture of silence that protects those in power. We must continue to work to end this national epidemic,” said gobernatorial candidate Cynthia Nixon in an emailed statement.

The 213-member State Legislature is now tasked with appointing an interim attorney general. The Assembly (107) and Senate Democrats (32) have a combined majority of 139 lawmakers thus enabling their control the selection of an acting attorney general. Back in February 2007, The Democratic-led State Assembly elected Assemblyman Thomas P. DiNapoli as state comptroller to replace Alan Hevesi who had resigned in disgrace.

Cuomo counsel Alphonso David, NYC Public Advocate Letitia James, Assemblywoman Helene Weinstein, the chairwoman of the Assembly Ways and Means committee, as well as State Senators Michael Gianaris and Todd Kaminsky, and former US Attorney Preet Bharara number among the people whose names have been floated as possible appointees.

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