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Embattled Schneiderman resigns as attorney general

Once represented parts of community in state senate

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By the end of the day Tuesday, Eric Schneiderman will no longer be New York's attorney general.

Schneiderman announced his resignation from the office once held by Gov. Andrew Cuomo late Monday after multiple women accused him of sexual assault earlier in the day in The New Yorker.

"It's been my great honor and privilege to serve as attorney general for the people of the state of New York," Schneiderman said in a brief statement Monday. "In the last several hours, serious allegations — which I strongly contest — have been made against me.

"While these allegations are unrelated to my professional conduct or the operations of the office, they will effectively prevent me from leading the office's work at this critical time."

The four women making the claims said they had been in relationships with Schneiderman, and while their romantic relationship was consensual, the violence they claim in the bedroom — like hitting and choking — was not.

Cuomo called on Schneiderman to resign late Monday, and asked the district attorney's office to look into the allegations made in the story. 

A Harvard law graduate, Schneiderman was first elected to the state senate — which represented parts of Riverdale and Marble Hill, as well as portions of Manhattan's Upper West Side — in 1998. And despite being shifted to a more Republican district, would win re-election five more times before voters moved him into the attorney general's office in 2010.

He was succeeded by Adriano Espaillat, who would later be elected to Congress representing New York's 13th District. 

New York's chief law enforcement position has been held by one future president — Martin Van Buren — and two future governors, both coming immediately before Schneiderman took over — Eliot Spitzer and Cuomo. Spitzer himself resigned as governor in 2008 over a sex scandal.

"No one is above the law, even New York's top legal officer," Cuomo said in a statement. "My personal opinion is that, given the damning pattern of facts and corroboration laid out in (The New Yorker) article, I do not believe it is possible for Eric Schneiderman to continue to serve as attorney general. And for the good of the office, he should resign."

Cuomo's leading primary candidate in the upcoming gubernatorial race, Cynthia Nixon, concurred. 

"The descriptions by these brave women of the physical and sexual abuse they suffered at the hands of the (New York) attorney general Eric Schneiderman are sickening," Nixon said in a statement. "It is the right decision for him to resign immediately. The women who came forward so courageously to tell their stories and spared others from suffering are heroines."

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