Gov. Andrew Cuomo appointed Nassau County District Attorney Madeline Singas the special prosecutor tasked with investigating domestic abuse allegations against disgraced New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, who resigned Tuesday.
Suffolk Count District Attorney Timothy Sini also announced that his office will investigate one of the alleged incidents that occurred in the Hamptons, according to this week’s bombshell report in The New Yorker magazine. Schneiderman announced his resignation three hours after the report — detailing similar claims from four women recounting physical abuse by the AG — was posted online Monday.
“News of former Attorney General Eric Schneiderman’s alleged improprieties as the State’s chief legal officer are grossly disturbing and must be fully investigated,” Cuomo said. “The brave women who chose to come forward deserve swift and definitive justice in this matter.”
After Schneiderman left office at 5 p.m. Tuesday, State Solicitor General Barbara D. Underwood was sworn in as Acting New York State Attorney General. The state Legislature is debating whether to appoint a temporary replacement. Voters will decide who’ll be the state’s new top prosecutor on Election Day.
“Pursuant to the governor’s executive order, we will vigorously investigate the allegations for which jurisdiction has been granted,” Singas’ office said in a statement. “I will not accept any appointment nor seek election to the office of the New York State Attorney General.”
Democrats who’ve reportedly expressed interest include Singas’ old boss, former Nassau District Attorney and current U.S. Rep. Kathleen Rice (D-Garden City) — who lost a 2010 Democratic primary to Schneiderman for the AG post — state Sen. Michael Gianaris (D-Queens), Public Advocate Letita James, state Sen. Todd Kaminsky (D-Long Beach), former Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara, and perennial candidate Zephyr Teachout.
The New Yorker story described two of Schneiderman’s ex-girlfriends claims that the AG — who held himself out as an advocate for women’s rights in the wake of the #MeToo movement — allegedly slapped, choked and emotionally abused them without consent.
A high-profile attorney who remained anonymous was quoted in the magazine as detailing a sexually aggressive encounter with Schneiderman that left her frightened following a party in the Hamptons in the summer of 2016.
“He slapped me across the face hard, twice,” she told The New Yorker, which reported that her face was still red the following day. “I was stunned.”
“Now that I know it’s part of a pattern, I think, God, I should have reported it,” she was quoted as saying. “But, back then, I believed that it was a one-time incident. And I thought, He’s a good attorney general, he’s doing good things. I didn’t want to jeopardize that.”
“I knew it was wrong,” she told The New Yorker. “Our top law officer, this guy with a platform for women’s rights, just smacked away so much of what I thought he stood for.”