New York Attorney General resigns amid assault accusations

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New York, May 8 (IANS) Eric T. Schneiderman, the New York Attorney General who rose to prominence as an antagonist of the Trump administration, has resigned hours after four women accused him of physically assaulting them in an article published by The New Yorker, the media reported.

“It’s been my great honour and privilege to serve as attorney general for the people of the state of New York,” The New York Times quoted Schneiderman as saying on Monday night.

“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,” he added.

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His resignation represented a stunning fall for a politician who had also assumed a prominent role in the #MeToo movement.

Two of the women who spoke to The New Yorker, Michelle Manning Barish and Tanya Selvaratnam, said they had been choked and hit repeatedly by Schneiderman.

Both said they had sought medical treatment. Another woman, a lawyer, said she was slapped violently across the face. A fourth woman also said she had similar experiences.

All the women in the article, who had been romantically involved with Schneiderman, said the violence was not consensual.

Schneiderman has denied abusing the women, saying in a statement: “In the privacy of intimate relationships, I have engaged in role-playing and other consensual sexual activity. I have not assaulted anyone. I have never engaged in non-consensual sex, which is a line I would not cross.”

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After the allegations were made public, many of his allies, including New York Governor Andrew M. Cuomo called for him to step down, reports The New York Times.

“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,” Cuomo said.

Since 2017, Schneiderman had raised his profile nationally by taking on President Donald Trump’s agenda repeatedly in the courts.

He is pushing to change state law so that his office could prosecute Trump’s aides even if the President pardoned them.

Schneiderman was up for re-election this year. No Democrat had declared an intention to challenge him in the primary; Manny Alicandro, a corporate lawyer from New York City, is running as a Republican and officially declared his candidacy on Monday.

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Schneiderman’s former wife Jennifer Cunningham said she was taken aback by the allegations being levelled against him.

“I’ve known Eric for nearly 35 years as a husband, father and friend,” said Cunningham, also his frequent political strategist.

“These allegations are completely inconsistent with the man I know, who has always been someone of the highest character, outstanding values and a loving father.”

–IANS

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