New York’s now-ex-Attorney General, Eric Schneiderman fell from grace in the course of half a news cycle. He denies wrongdoing, but that’s no longer relevant.
Until Monday evening New York’s Attorney General Eric Schneiderman was a public champion of the #MeToo movement. Now he appears to be the latest sickening example of the scale and insidiousness of the cruelty that movement is confronting. He resigned late Monday after The New Yorker magazine published an article in which four women accused him of abusing them physically and emotionally.
Ronan Farrow ruled. Can there be any doubt after judgment has been handed down?
Mr. Schneiderman admitted no wrongdoing. Instead, he said in a statement that the “serious allegations, which I strongly contest,” had made it impossible to do his job.
But the allegations outlined by the women are consistent, detailed and bone-chilling.
Repeating the allegations seems almost pointless these days. The story broke late in the afternoon, and by late evening, Schneiderman resigned. He was toast within minutes, not because anything has been proven, but because Schneiderman relied on the feelings of the woke to scream “witch” at others, and exposed himself when the mob turned on him.
Not being a fan of Schneiderman’s, I shed no tears for his demise. And there is always the Schadenfreude of it all. But a person’s career, the sum total of his life and efforts to date, have been destroyed in a matter of hours based on nothing more than a magazine story.
Two women who had been in relationships with Mr. Schneiderman — Michelle Manning Barish, a liberal activist, and Tanya Selvaratnam, an author — told the magazine that he choked and hit them, often during sex, and subjected them to verbal abuse. They said he slapped them so hard that Ms. Manning Barish bled from her ear long after the blow, while Ms. Selvaratnam suffered from episodes of vertigo.
They didn’t go to the police. They didn’t file a complaint. They didn’t sue. They waited until the social agenda made it beneficial to tell their story to Ronan Farrow. They may well be telling the truth. They may not. There is a way to test their accusations.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo should appoint a responsible, independent prosecutor to investigate any possible criminal charges against Mr. Schneiderman and abuses of his office.
Every county in New York has a district attorney, whose office has no connection to the attorney general’s office. Are they incompetent to investigate? Are they untrustworthy to prosecute? What possible reason could there be for the appointment of a “responsible, independent prosecutor,” or is it just another fashion statement to have a special counsel these days?
But does it really matter? No one cares about Schneiderman otherwise, and now that he’s resigned, no one will give him another thought.
Mr. Schneiderman joins a sorry list of once-rising stars in New York’s Democratic Party whose careers imploded amid allegations of personal misconduct, including former Gov. Eliot Spitzer and former Congressman Anthony Weiner. As was the case with those men, the resignation of Mr. Schneiderman could have far-reaching consequences.
Republicans have imploded. Democrats have imploded. Women see the list of names of males (although if they were women, I learned yesterday that it would be misogynistic to call them females rather than women. Who knew?), but there are women as well. Fewer, as the universe is smaller, but still there.
In another time, one might view these indulgences as a reflection of the type of people who seek power, the fault being their arrogance. But there are no longer still waters in politics, just gushing rivers, and the answer to all questions is racism and sexism, so the flaw is Schneiderman’s toxic masculinity and not his character, his yearning for power and adoration.
Anyone involved in the effort to replace Mr. Schneiderman should remember: No one is above the law.
Remember when the New York Times waited until a person was tried and convicted to condemn him, to rush to the stake with their lit match lest they not be party to the burning of their ally yesterday and their condemned man today? But Schneiderman is male, and isn’t that more than enough for Ronan Farrow and the New York Times to pronounce his guilt?
But Schneiderman was the backup to Mueller, the stopgap if Trump was to pardon his sycophants.
The attorney general was in the midst of pushing a proposal to change New York’s double jeopardy statute so any aides to President Trump that he might pardon — in an effort to keep them from cooperating with the special counsel — could be prosecuted under state charges. Mr. Schneiderman’s moralizing may have proven hollow, but that proposal remains worthy given Mr. Trump’s continual attempts to derail the special counsel’s investigation, including raising the prospect of such pardons.
Will his replacement be as willing to undermine the law for all just to get Trump? Will his replacement have his desire for prominence, for higher office, for the applause of the mob? As much as the mob appeared willing to throw aside everything, every foundational tenet of law, every constitutional principle, to assure that Trump would fall, even if it meant destroying the very law that preserved our society for the past couple centuries, they will risk it all because of the unproved accusations of four women.
Not even the hatred of Trump is worth allowing Schneiderman to be tried and convicted before he was crushed. The fall from grace is brutal. But as much as Scneiderman’s fall may be well deserved by his own abuse of unproved accusations, he has yet to be proven guilty. Even Eric Schneiderman should not be burned at the stake before trial and conviction.