New York’s top lawyer Eric Schneiderman resigns amid abuse allegations

Written by Staff Writer

Liliane Amanpour, CNN

New York attorney general Eric Schneiderman ended his bid for governor Tuesday, saying he would step down as the state’s top lawyer over allegations of physical abuse against him.

“I have decided to resign my office, effective at noon on 7 November 2017,” Schneiderman said in a statement. “I do this not because I am admitting to any wrongdoing. I have not been convicted of any wrongdoing. I have not spoken publicly about these allegations, and I have denied them from the beginning. I have also sought and received a fair trial at which I was afforded the protections of the presumption of innocence.”

CNN was first to report that Schneiderman had been accused of physical abuse, however, not until the New Yorker published a report Monday night.

‘Now I can tell my story’

An article in the New Yorker by Ronan Farrow said five women told the magazine that Schneiderman “abused them physically, including choking and hitting them, often after drinking.” The alleged incidents took place between 2009 and 2017.

“I have done some awful things in my life,” Schneiderman told the magazine in an exclusive interview. “I am not perfect. I have flaws just like everyone else. But I have never, ever committed violence against anyone.”

His office confirmed the case was being investigated by the Manhattan district attorney’s office.

“Criminal allegations against a public official can be disqualifying, especially in an election year, and the Office of the Attorney General has received and is reviewing these allegations,” said Amy Spitalnick, a spokeswoman for the office.

Among those to accuse him was Michele Noemi Levinson, who said that Schneiderman “choked me, head-butted me, punched me repeatedly and threatened me with physical violence.”

“I feel no shame or stigma,” she told the New Yorker. “Now I can tell my story.”

Polls have Schneiderman neck-and-neck with actor and cable TV personality Cynthia Nixon in his gubernatorial campaign for the November 6 election.

CNN was not able to independently confirm any of the alleged allegations. CNN has contacted representatives for Schneiderman for comment.

In the meantime, the New York Attorney General’s Office has turned its ethics oversight over to former city attorney David Libenson.

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