Manhattan D.A. Starts Investigation of Assault Allegations Against Eric Schneiderman

Eric Schneiderman

Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. has opened an investigation into assault allegations against New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, whose resignation will be effective at the end of the day on Tuesday.

Schneiderman, who spearheaded an investigation into the Weinstein Co. and sexual harassment and assault allegations against Harvey Weinstein, stepped down just hours after the New Yorker published allegations from four women who said that he assaulted them, drank heavily and made threats during dating and sexual relationships. He has denied assaulting anyone.

“Our office has opened an investigation into the recently reported allegations concerning Mr. Schneiderman,” said Danny Frost, a spokesman for Vance.

At the direction of New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, Schneiderman’s office had been reviewing the way that Vance had handled allegations against Weinstein back in 2015, when model Ambra Battilana claimed that the mogul groped her, but Vance declined to press charges.

Meanwhile, Barbara Underwood, the New York solicitor general since January, 2007, will serve as acting attorney general.

“The work of this office is critically important,” she said in a statement. “Our office has never been stronger, and this extraordinarily talented, dedicated, and tireless team of public servants will ensure that our work continues without interruption.”

The State Senate and State Assembly will choose a successor to fill the remainder of Schneiderman’s term. He faced re-election in November.

Among the names floated as interim attorney general are Preet Bharara, the former U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York. Zephyr Teachout, who ran for governor in 2014, said that she was “seriously considering running for Attorney General. It is a major decision & will take real thought.”

“For today, I’m grateful for the women who dared speak up against one of the most powerful men in the US & for Barbara Underwood, the brilliant woman who will be acting NY AG,” she wrote on Twitter.