By Jonathan Stempel
NEWYORK (Reuters) – Prosecutors said on Thursday they have decided not to bring criminal charges against former New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, who resigned in May after four women accused him of physical abuse.
The decision was announced by Nassau County District Attorney Madeline Singas, who was appointed by New York Governor Andrew Cuomo to investigate the allegations shortly after Schneiderman’s sudden May 7 resignation.
Singas said she personally interviewed Schneiderman’s accusers and found them credible, but that state law made it impossible to bring criminal charges.
“I believe the women who shared their experiences with our investigation team. However legal impediments, including statutes of limitations, preclude criminal prosecution,” Singas said in a statement.
In a statement on Thursday, Schneiderman apologised “for any and all pain that I have caused,” and said that after spending time in a “rehab facility” he was committed to “making amends” to those people he harmed.
“I recognise that District Attorney Singas’ decision not to prosecute does not mean I have done nothing wrong,” he said. “I accept full responsibility for my conduct in my relationships with my accusers, and for the impact it had on them.”
Cuomo’s office did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Schneiderman, 63, resigned hours after allegations by his accusers, who said they were romantically involved with him, were published in The New Yorker magazine.
The women claimed that Schneiderman subjected them to nonconsensual physical violence, sometimes during sex, including being slapped or choked. https://bit.ly/2HWSrcf
Schneiderman, a Democrat, resigned after more than seven years in office. He had become a persistent critic of the Trump administration and a leader in the #MeToo movement.
He was replaced as attorney general by Barbara Underwood, who did not seek a full term. Letitia James, New York City’s public advocate, was elected attorney general on Tuesday.
Singas separately proposed a new law that she said would protect victims of sexually motivated violence.
She asked state lawmakers to make it a Class A misdemeanour to commit sexual harassment, defined as the slapping, striking, kicking or shoving of someone without consent for the purpose of “sexual arousal or gratification.”
(Reporting by Jonathan Stempel in New York; Editing by Jeffrey Benkoe and Dan Grebler)