Four women accuse NY Attorney General Eric Schneiderman of assault Update: Schneiderman resigns

New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman has been a high-profile member of the anti-Trump resistance and also an outspoken proponent of the #MeToo movement. Now, Ronan Farrow and Jane Mayer report Schneiderman is accused of physical violence by four different women he has dated.

All have been reluctant to speak out, fearing reprisal. But two of the women, Michelle Manning Barish and Tanya Selvaratnam, have talked to The New Yorker on the record, because they feel that doing so could protect other women. They allege that he repeatedly hit them, often after drinking, frequently in bed and never with their consent…

About four weeks after they became physically involved, she says, Schneiderman grew violent. One night, they were in the bedroom of his Upper West Side apartment, still clothed but getting ready for bed, and lightly baiting each other. As she recalls it, he called her “a whore,” and she talked back. They had both been drinking, and her recollection of their conversation is blurry, but what happened next remains vivid. Schneiderman, she says, backed her up to the edge of his bed. “All of a sudden, he just slapped me, open handed and with great force, across the face, landing the blow directly onto my ear,” Manning Barish says. “It was horrendous. It just came out of nowhere. My ear was ringing. I lost my balance and fell backward onto the bed. I sprang up, but at this point there was very little room between the bed and him. I got up to try to shove him back, or take a swing, and he pushed me back down. He then used his body weight to hold me down, and he began to choke me. The choking was very hard. It was really bad. I kicked. In every fibre, I felt I was being beaten by a man.”…

In the following days, Manning Barish confided to three close female friends that Schneiderman had hit her. All of them have confirmed this to The New Yorker. “She was distraught,” one of the friends, a high-profile media figure, says. “She was very, very upset. This wasn’t a gentle smack. He clocked her ear. I was shocked.”…

Manning Barish says that her ear bothered her for months. It often felt painful and clogged, and she kept hearing odd gurgling sounds. Once, blood trickled out, reaching her collarbone. Eventually, Manning Barish sought medical help from Dr. Gwen Korovin, an ear, nose, and throat specialist. Manning Barish shared her medical records with The New Yorker. They confirm that, on September 13, 2014, Korovin found and removed “dried bloody crust” from Manning Barish’s ear.

Manning Barish told her doctor she had injured her ear with a Q-tip. She says now that was a lie to protect Schneiderman. Schneiderman’s take on all of this is that this and similar incidents were all consensual sex games: “In the privacy of intimate relationships, I have engaged in role-playing and other consensual sexual activity. I have not assaulted anyone.” But Manning Barish disputes that saying of the incident she described, “This was under no circumstances a sex game gone wrong. This did not happen while we were having sex. I was fully dressed and remained that way.”

Another woman claims she was also slapped hard by Schneiderman in the summer of 2016. Schneiderman offered to have his driver give the woman a ride to an “after-party” which turned out to be the house he was staying at in the Hamptons. No one else was there:

The lawyer and Schneiderman began making out, but he said things that repelled her. He told the woman, a divorced mother, that professional women with big jobs and children had so many decisions to make that, when it came to sex, they secretly wanted men to take charge. She recalls him saying, “Yeah, you act a certain way and look a certain way, but I know that at heart you are a dirty little slut. You want to be my whore.” He became more sexually aggressive, but she was repulsed by his talk, and pulled away from him. She says that “suddenly—at least, in my mind’s eye—he drew back, and there was a moment where I was, like, ‘What’s happening?’ ” Then, she recalls, “He slapped me across the face hard, twice,” adding, “I was stunned.”

Schneiderman hit her so hard, she says, that the blow left a red handprint. “What the fuck did you just do?” she screamed, and started to sob. “I couldn’t believe it,” she recalls. “For a split second, I was scared.” She notes that, in all her years of dating, she has never been in a situation like the one with Schneiderman. “He just really smacked me,” she says.

When she tried to leave, she claims Schneiderman freaked out, telling her, “A lot of women like it. They don’t always think they like it, but then they do, and they ask for more.”

These women and two others mentioned in the story don’t really know one another but say they’re coming forward now because they’ve had a difficult time watching Schneiderman put himself forward as a champion of the MeToo movement. Manning Barish tells the New Yorker, “His hypocrisy is epic. He’s fooled so many people.” The women also worry about what might happen to his next girlfriend if they say nothing.

Schneiderman has been an outspoken opponent of President Trump since he was elected. A New York Times profile of Schneiderman published last December claimed he had taken 100 actions to oppose the Trump administration:

Eric Schneiderman, New York’s attorney general, reached a milestone of sorts recently.

By moving to sue the Federal Communications Commission over net neutrality this month, his office took its 100th legal or administrative action against the Trump administration and congressional Republicans. His lawyers have challenged Mr. Trump’s first, second and third travel bans and sued over such diverse matters as a rollback in birth control coverage and a weakening of pollution standards. They have also unleashed a flurry of amicus briefs and formal letters, often with other Democratic attorneys general, assailing legislation they see as gutting consumer finance protections or civil rights.

“We try and protect New Yorkers from those who would do them harm,” Mr. Schneiderman said during a recent interview in his Manhattan office.

It sounds as if the single women of New York could use some of that protection from the Attorney General.

Addendum: This is what should happen next, right?

Update: He admits nothing but he’s gone anyway. From the Washington Post:

New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman resigned Monday night, stepping down from office hours after he was accused of physically abusing four women in an article published by the New Yorker…

“In the last several hours, serious allegations, which I strongly contest, have been made against me,” Schneiderman said in a statement. “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 really don’t think Schneiderman’s ‘I’m a kinky guy’ defense was going to work very well. Maybe he’ll break it out again if he’s arrested.

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David Strom 8:31 AM on October 05, 2022