New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman is accused of physically abusing four women, according to an article published by the New Yorker Monday (May 7).
Two of the women, Michelle Manning Barish and Tanya Selvaratnam, spoke to the magazine on the record, and said that they were in a romantic relationship with Schneiderman when he choked and slapped them, leading them to seek medical treatment.
Selvaratnam (of Sri Lankan origin) said that Schneiderman warned her he could have her followed and her phones tapped. Both women said he threatened to kill them if they ended their relationships with him, according to the New Yorker. Schneiderman’s spokesperson told the magazine that he “never made any of those these threats.”
A third woman made similar accusations of nonconsensual physical violence, and a fourth, an attorney who has held high positions in the New York legal sphere, told the New Yorker that after she rejected one of Schneiderman’s advances, he “slapped her across the face with such force that it left a mark that lingered the next day.” All four women said their physical abuse was not consensual.
Schneiderman denies assaulting the women, and in a statement on Twitter said: “In the privacy of intimate relationships, I have engaged in role-playing and other consensual sexual activity. I have not assaulted anyone. I have never engaged in nonconsensual sex, which is a line I would not cross.”
The allegations against Schneiderman, the top law enforcement official in New York state, come as he has taken on an increased national profile due to his repeated legal challenges to the Trump administration. He has also pushed recently for the state to change its laws so that he and his office could prosecute people connected to Trump if the president winds up pardoning them.
Schneiderman, a Democrat who was first elected in 2010 and is up for a potential third term later this year, has been an outspoken advocate for women. His office filed a civil rights lawsuit in February against the movie producer Harvey Weinstein, who has been accused of repeated assaults and attacks on women, as well as his brother and the Weinstein Company. In March, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, D, directed Schneiderman to review how the Manhattan district attorney handled a sexual assault allegation against Weinstein.