Schneiderman will not face criminal charges for physical abuse

Nov 9, 2018

The prosecutor appointed to investigate allegations that former New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman physically abused women says she has closed the case without bringing criminal charges.

Nassau County District Attorney Madeline Singas announced her decision Thursday.

She said in a brief statement that investigators did an "exhaustive review" and she personally interviewed each woman who had accused Schneiderman of assault. Singas said investigators also spoke with members of Schneiderman's security detail.

However, she said she concluded that "legal impediments, including statutes of limitations, preclude criminal prosecution."

Singas added that the probe found no misconduct by Schneiderman's staff in the attorney general's office.

In a story published by The New Yorker in May, four women accused Schneiderman of nonconsensual slapping, hitting and choking, as part of a larger pattern of demeaning and violently abusive behavior. He also spat on some of the women, belittled them and threatened to kill them, former girlfriends said.

Schneiderman initially denied the allegations and said he merely engaged in "role-playing and other consensual sexual activity." However, the former attorney general struck a different tone on Thursday.

"I recognize that District Attorney Singas' decision not to prosecute does not mean I have done nothing wrong. I accept full responsibility for my conduct in my relationships with my accusers, and for the impact it had on them," he said in a statement.

One of the women who accused Schneiderman's of physical abuse reacted to the decision by demanding he donate millions of dollars left in his campaign coffers to women's shelters and domestic abuse programs.

Michelle Manning Barish, who spoke on the record to the New Yorker, wrote on Twitter that she feels "completely vindicated by Eric Schneiderman's admission that he engaged in the abuse to which he subjected me and the other women."

Barish also wrote that she needs an admission of wrongdoing and an apology "or I will fight." And she called for Schneiderman to go beyond words.

"A crucial next step will be for Schneiderman to turn over all campaign contributions — which we understand to be over $8.5 M — to groups that combat sexual violence against women and protect those who are harmed," she wrote. "I wish him well in his recovery process," she said.