After a six-month investigation, prosecutors said Thursday that they would not pursue criminal charges against Eric T. Schneiderman, the former New York State attorney general who resigned in May after four women accused him of assaulting them.
The decision not to file charges was announced in a statement issued by Madeline Singas, the Nassau County district attorney, who was asked by Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo to investigate the case shortly after Mr. Schneiderman left his post.
Video: No Charges For Eric Schneiderman
Schneiderman Will Not Face Criminal Charges in Abuse Complaints
Ms. Singas said the women who accused Mr. Schneiderman of abuse were credible, but there were legal hurdles to bringing charges. She did not elaborate on those obstacles, except to say that some of the accusations were too old to pursue under state law.
10/ DA @madelinesingas has also proposed new legislation called “Sexual Harassment,” which would be the first crime in #NYS history bearing that name. Here is the text of her proposal, which she has sent to the NYS Legislature. pic.twitter.com/TAFT1l3n55
I believe the women who shared their experiences with our investigation team, Ms. Singas wrote, however legal impediments, including statutes of limitations, preclude criminal prosecution.
Schneiderman resigned in May shortly after The New Yorker published on-record allegations from multiple former romantic partners of his, as well as one unnamed woman who rebuffed Schneidermans advances, who said he physically abused them in a variety of ways.
Video: Eric Schneiderman wont face charges
Ms. Singas also noted that she had proposed a new state law that would protect victims of sexually motivated violence by making it illegal to hit, shove, slap or kick someone without their consent for the purpose of sexual arousal or gratification. She added that her inquiry had found no misconduct by the staff of the attorney generals office.
Mr. Schneidermans sudden resignation, which took place only hours after the accusations against him were published in The New Yorker, was a stunning fall for a politician who had not only risen to prominence as an antagonist of the Trump administration, but who had also played a forceful personal role in the #MeToo movement.
The prosecutor, Nassau County District Attorney Madeline Singas, wrote Thursday: I believe the women who shared their experiences with our investigation team, however legal impediments, including statutes of limitations, preclude criminal prosecution.
The women, who had been romantically involved with him, accused him of choking, hitting and slapping them, sometimes during sex and often after drinking. All of them said the violence was not consensual.
In the immediate wake of the allegations, Mr. Schneiderman at first denied assaulting or abusing anyone, saying he had engaged in role-playing with the women. But in a statement issued Thursday morning, he apologized both to them and to the people of New York. He also said that he had spent time in a rehab facility and was committed to a lifelong path of recovery and making amends to those I have harmed.
Schneiderman also allegedly threatened the women in order to intimidate them and prevent them from speaking out about the abuse. At the time, Schneiderman denied threatening the women or having assaulted anyone.
I recognize that District Attorney Singas decision not to prosecute does not mean I have done nothing wrong, he wrote. I accept full responsibility for my conduct in my relationships with my accusers, and for the impact it had on them.
One of the women, Michelle Manning Barish, described to The New Yorker being slapped by Mr. Schneiderman so violently and abruptly one day it left one of her ears ringing. Ms. Manning Barish said that when she tried to fight back, Mr. Schneiderman pushed her onto a bed, pinned her down with his body weight and then began to choke her.
Ms. Manning Barish said Thursday that she felt completely vindicated by Mr. Schneidermans apology, which she took as an admission that he had abused her and her fellow accusers. But she called on him to go further and to donate the millions of dollars he collected for his abandoned re-election campaign to groups that combat sexual violence against women.
I appreciate the District Attorneys statement and will work to ensure that such legislation passes in NY state and elsewhere. I feel completely vindicated by Eric Schneidermans admission that he engaged in the abuse to which he subjected me and the other women.
I Believe the Women, DA Says, While Announcing No Criminal Charges Against Fmr New York AG
In October, another accuser, Tanya Selvaratnam, wrote an opinion article for The New York Times, detailing how Mr. Schneiderman often slapped her until she agreed to call him master and sometimes referred to her as his property.
Ms. Selvaratnam also claimed that Mr. Schneiderman frequently belittled her looks and told her that he could tap her phone and have her followed.
No charges for ex-NY Attorney General Schneiderman after assault allegations
This wasnt just cruel or weird sex, she wrote. It was one element in a larger dynamic of power and control.
Former NY Attorney General Eric Schneiderman will not be charged in abuse investigation: prosecutor
On Thursday, Ms. Selvaratnam thanked Ms. Singas for the care she gave to the investigation. She added that this experience underscores the need for legislation addressing intimate violence.
A Democrat whod made a name for himself as a champion of womens rights, Schneiderman stepped down in May just hours after a report in The New Yorker magazine detailed that he had struck or choked women he knew.
After the allegations were made public, many of Mr. Schneidermans allies, including Mr. Cuomo and Senator Kirsten E. Gillibrand, moved swiftly in asking him to step down. Within two weeks, the New York Legislature voted to confirm Barbara D. Underwood, the states top appellate lawyer, as Mr. Schneidermans replacement, making her the first woman to hold the post of state attorney general. (On Tuesday, Letitia James, the former New York City public advocate, was elected to the job.)
He said then that “while these allegations are unrelated to my professional conduct or the operations of the office, they will effectively prevent me from leading the offices work at this critical time.”
Although Cyrus R. Vance Jr., the Manhattan district attorney, initially announced that he would investigate the claims against Mr. Schneiderman, Mr. Cuomo instead appointed Ms. Singas, a career prosecutor who had worked on sex crime cases, to oversee the inquiry.
Ex-New York attorney general Eric Schneiderman wont face criminal charges for alleged abuse
Ms. Singas said Thursday that her investigative team interviewed each of Mr. Schneidermans accusers, as well as his security detail, former staff members and other witnesses whom she did not identify.
I need an admission of wrongdoing. An apology. And the $8.5 million dollars in campaign contributions donated to womens shelters and domestic abuse programs in NY. Or I will fight.
The bill she sent to New York legislative leaders would change the harassment law to cover cases in which someone is subjected to unwanted violence during sex. The law currently says that slaps, shoves or kicks qualify as harassment only if the offender intends to alarm or annoy the victim, but not when the motive is sexual gratification.
The legislation the D.A. proposed today is crucial to protect victims of sexual abuse and violence from the deeply emotionally scarring injuries they experience in their intimate relationships, Ms. Katz said. Without it, abusers can get off scot-free — even when they later admit to the behavior, as Mr. Schneiderman did today.
Eric Schneiderman Resigns as New York Attorney General Amid Assault Claims by 4 WomenMay 7, 2018Image
Former NY Attorney General Eric Schneiderman will not face charges
Former New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman has escaped criminal charges after being accused of physically abusing several women, after a six-month investigation said the statute of limitations prevented any form of prosecution.
Nassau County District Attorney Madeline Singas, who was appointed to probe the allegations of Schneiderman threatening, abusing and demeaning several women, announced the probe was complete.
“Following an exhaustive review, evaluation of the facts, the law, and applicable statutes of limitations, I have concluded our investigation into the allegations of physical abuse allegedly committed by former New York State Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman without criminal charges,” Singas said in a statement, adding that they “found no misconduct by Mr. Schneiderman’s staff.”
Singas said she assembled an experienced team of prosecutors and investigators, and “personally interviewed each of the women who cooperated with our investigation along with their attorneys.”
Singas said the team also interviewed members of Schneiderman’s security detail, employees in the attorney general’s office, and potential witnesses identified during the investigation.
“I believe the women who shared their experiences with our investigation team, however legal impediments, including statutes of limitations, preclude criminal prosecution,” Singas said. “Our investigation also highlighted deficiencies in New York law for which I have drafted remedial legislation.”
The legislation was sent to the New York legislature by the district attorney’s office to “strengthen laws that protect victims of sexually-motivated violence.”
Former New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman has escaped criminal charges after being accused of physically abusing several women, after a six-month investigation said the statute of limitations prevented any form of prosecution (Reuters)
“This legislation fills a gap in the law that is essential to properly sanction sexually-motivated violence that may leave the victims with deep emotional wounds, even if they do not sustain physical injuries as defined under New York penal law,” Singas said in a statement. “This new misdemeanor-level offense will afford law enforcement an additional tool to protect victims of domestic abuse, and I encourage the legislature to pass this bill next session.”
The accusations first surfaced in a report by The New Yorker in May, detailing four women’s claims, including choking a former girlfriend and demanding another, who was born in Sri Lanka and whom Schneiderman reportedly referred to as his “brown slave,” call him “Master.”
Schneidermann was forced to resign from his post as the state’s top law enforcement officer, and New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo ordered an “immediate investigation.”
“In the privacy of intimate relationships, I have engaged in role-playing and other consensual sexual activity. I have not assaulted anyone,” Schneiderman said after The New Yorker published the article. “I have never engaged in non-consensual sex, which is a line I would not cross.”
Prominent Democrats, like Cuomo and New York City Mayor Bill DeBlasio, said they had no prior knowledge of the alleged behavior. The New York Police Department, at the time, told Fox News that it had “no complaints” against the attorney general on file — but if it “receives complaints of a crime, it will investigate them thoroughly.”
But Trump himself suggested in a cryptic Sept. 11, 2013 tweet that Schneiderman had skeletons in his closet. He tweeted that Schneiderman would be “next,” following the resignations of Gov. Eliot Spitzer over a prostitutional scandal and Rep. Anthony Weiner over a lewd texting scandal.
“Weiner is gone, Spitzer is gone—next will be lightweight A.G. Eric Schneiderman. Is he a crook? Wait and see, worse than Spitzer or Weiner,” Trump tweeted in 2013.