New York's former attorney general Eric Schneiderman, who resigned in disgrace earlier this year after four women accused him of choking and hitting them, will not face criminal charges for his alleged abuse.
On Thursday, prosecutors in Long Island announced that they had concluded a six-month investigation into Schneiderman, and would not pursue charges despite credible evidence against him. "I believe the women who shared their experiences with our investigation team," wrote Nassau County district attorney Madeline Singas, who had been tasked with the inquiry by Governor Andrew Cuomo. "However, legal impediments, including statutes of limitations, preclude criminal prosecution."
Schneiderman resigned this past May, hours after allegations from four women were published in the New Yorker. The allegations portrayed the 63-year-old attorney general as a violent, emotionally abusive drunk, who would slap and choke his partners without warning, mock their appearances, and threaten to kill them.
As part of her announcement, Singas urged legislators to "fill a gap" in New York state law, which precludes prosecutors from bringing charges against a person who abuses a victim without causing them obvious physical injuries.
5/ "Physical injury means "impairment of physical condition or substantial pain," and requires proof of “more than mere bruises, bumps, abrasions, or superficial cuts."
— Daniel R. Alonso (@DanielRAlonso) November 8, 2018
The former attorney general faced a range of possible charges, including misdemeanor assault in the third degree and criminal obstruction of breathing or blood circulation, according to former federal and state prosecutor Daniel Alonso. He might have also been guilty of a harassment violation, which has a statute of limitations of one year.
Following his resignation, Schneiderman maintained that he did not participate in non-consensual sexual activity or violence—a claim disputed by the two women named in the story, Michelle Manning Barish and Tanya Selvaratnam. In one instance, Barish recalled to the New Yorker: "[h]e just slapped me, open handed and with great force, across the face, landing the blow directly onto my ear...He then used his body weight to hold me down, and he began to choke me. The choking was very hard. It was really bad. I kicked. In every fibre, I felt I was being beaten by a man."
In a statement released on Thursday morning, Schneiderman apologized for his conduct, saying he was in rehab and "making amends to those I have harmed.
"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," the statement read. "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."