No charges vs. Schneiderman
Ex-AG apologizes as abuse case dropped
Former New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, who was forced out of office after four women he dated accused him of assaulting them, will not face criminal charges, prosecutors said Thursday.
The Nassau County district attorney’s office, tasked with investigating the case by Gov. Cuomo, found the women and their allegations credible, but noted there were obstacles in the way of filing charges against the disgraced elected official.
“I believe the women who shared their experiences with our investigation team,” Nassau County District Attorney Madeline Singas wrote in a statement. “(H) owever legal impediments, including statutes of limitations, preclude criminal prosecution.”
Schneiderman stepped down from the state’s top law enforcement post in May after several women whom he had been romantically involved with accused him of being physically abusive. Two of his accusers claimed in a New Yorker expose that Schneiderman choked, hit and slapped them during sex or after he had been drinking.
The 63-year-old initially denied being abusive, saying that the violence was consensual and arguing that he had “engaged in role-playing” with the women.
On Thursday, he apologized and said he had spent time in a “rehab” facility.
“I recognize that District Attorney Singas’ decision not to prosecute does not mean I have done nothing wrong,” he said in a statement obtained by the Daily News. “I accept full responsibility for my conduct in my relationships with my accusers, and for the impact it had on them.
“After spending time in a rehab facility, I am committed to a lifelong path of recovery and making amends to those I have harmed. I apologize for any and all pain that I have caused, and I apologize to the people of the State of New York for disappointing them after they put their trust in me.”
One of his accusers, Michelle Manning Barish, said Thursday she felt “completely vindicated” by Schneiderman’s apology — and even wished him well.
“I feel completely vindicated by Eric Schneiderman’s admission that he engaged in the abuse to which he subjected me and the other women,” Manning Barish tweeted.
“This is a victory for all women, but we need more than words,” she added. “I wish him well in his recovery process.”
She also called on the fallen official to donate his unused campaign contributions “to groups that combat sexual violence against women and protect those who are harmed.”
Schneiderman’s campaign fund had about $7.4 million in its coffers as of July, according to a campaign finance report filed with the state. He had even more money stockpiled, but his campaign refunded about $1 million in donations in the two months after he quit.
The Democrat made a name for himself as a champion of women’s rights and a opponent of President Trump before the disturbing allegations against him were made public.
New York City Public Advocate Letitia James made history on Tuesday by being elected to replace Schneiderman, becoming the first black woman state attorney general.
Several prominent women’s rights advocates slammed the DA’s decision, calling on the state to amend current laws to aid abuse victims.
“Mr. Scheiderman is yet another powerful man who hasn’t been held accountable in a court of law for his abuse of women,” Sonia Ossorio, the president of the National Organization of Women’s New York chapter.
The investigation found no misconduct by Schneiderman’s staff in the office of the attorney general, but Singas, who has spent much of her career working on sex-crime prosecutions,
called on the Legislature to take up a bill to “fill a gap” in state law “precludes a prosecutor from charging a perpetrator who slaps, punches, shoves, or kicks another person, without consent, for sexual gratification.”
Disgraced New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman said in a statement he didn't consider the decision by the Nassau County district attorney not to file charges against him over abuse allegations an exoneration.