Many Surprised By Schneiderman AllegationsPosted: Updated:
Former state Attorney General Eric Schneiderman was an outspoken advocate for the #MeToo movement and a staunch proponent of women's rights.
That's why many people were surprised by allegations he slapped, choked and spat on at least four women with whom he was romantically involved.
"We are revealing a chronic, long-term injustice, some would say, sickness, certainly mistreatment and abuse of women," Gov. Andrew Cuomo said.
Cuomo called for Schneiderman's resignation after he was accused of physically assaulting four romantic partners, two of whom went public by detailing their experiences to the New Yorker.
Cuomo spoke to reporters from a small boat Tuesday where he commended the women for their courage.
"They had the courage to make it public, they had the courage to take on an attorney general who they believed threatened them not to go public," Cuomo said.
Schneiderman resigned, but denied the allegations, saying he "engaged in role-playing and other consensual sexual activity."
The two women who went public allegations said that the former attorney general hit and choked them to the point where they eventually sought medical attention.
"Well, first I wanted to say that I admired the strength and the courage of the women who went on the record and wanted to make known," Assemblywoman Addie Jenne said.
Jenne, a Democrat, called out Schneiderman for his hypocrisy because of his vocal support for women's issues, including filing a lawsuit against Harvey Weinstein, the former movie mogul accused of raping and sexually harassing at least 50 actresses.
"His public persona has been - you know - his support of women's issues and combating these types of things and it would have been the height of hypocrisy for him to continue under this cloud," Jenne said.
Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. has since opened an investigation against the former attorney general and Schneiderman has been replaced temporarily by Barbara Underwood, the state solicitor general.
"From all I hear, this Barbara Underwood, who is the current, like I said state solicitor general - she is very capable of running that office until there's an election," Assemblyman Ken Blankenbush said.
Blankenbush, a Republican, thinks Underwood should stay in Schneiderman's place until this November's election.