Within three hours after writer Ronan Farrow tweeted:
“‘I am the law.” Four women accuse NY attorney general and #MeToo advocate Eric Schneiderman of violent physical abuse. Several gave harrowing accounts of violence, fear, and intimidation to @JaneMayerNYer and me in our @NewYorker investigation,” New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman resigned.
During those three hours, Gov. Andrew Cuomo called for the attorney general to step down. In a tweet, Cuomo said: “No one is above the law, including New York’s top legal officer. …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 at attorney general, and for the good of the office, he should resign.”
Shortly therafter, Schneiderman released this statement:
“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.”
Schneiderman was elected to the post in 2010 and re-elected in 2014.
The 6,100-word article by Farrow and Mayer laid out the stories of four women who accused Schneiderman of physical abuse. Two of the four women spoke to The New Yorker on the record. Both women said that Schneiderman threatened to kill them if they ended their relationship with him.
He had been a champion of women’s rights, most recently as a prominent figure in the #MeToo movement, which emerged following the charges against movie mogul Harvey Weinstein.
The two writers pointed out that after The New York Times and The New Yorker shared the Pulitzer Prize gold medal for public service for their stories on Weinstein and sexual assault, “Schneiderman issued a congratulatory tweet, praising ‘the brave women and men who spoke up about the sexual harassment they had endured at the hands of powerful men.’ Without these women, he noted, ‘there would not be the critical national reckoning under way.’”
Barbara Underwood, the solicitor general of New York, is filling in as state attorney general.
Underwood was appointed solicitor general in January 2007. Earlier, she served as counsel and as chief assistant to the United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York. From 1998 to 2001 she was the acting solicitor general and principal deputy solicitor general of the United States. She also has held executive positions in the Queens and Brooklyn District Attorneys’ Offices and served as a trial attorney in the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office.