Eric Tradd Schneiderman (born December 31, 1954) is an American lawyer and politician who served as the 65th Attorney General of New York from 2011 until his resignation in May 2018. Schneiderman, a member of the Democratic Party, spent ten years in the New York State Senate before being elected Attorney General. In May 2018, Schneiderman resigned from his position as Attorney General after The New Yorker reported that four women had accused him of physical abuse.[1] In 2021, Schneiderman’s law license was suspended for a year after a disciplinary proceeding where he admitted to the abusive conduct.[2]

Eric Schneiderman
Schneiderman in 2012
65th Attorney General of New York
In office
January 1, 2011 – May 8, 2018
GovernorAndrew Cuomo
Preceded byAndrew Cuomo
Succeeded byBarbara Underwood
Member of the New York State Senate
In office
January 1, 1999 – December 31, 2010
Preceded byFranz Leichter
Succeeded byAdriano Espaillat
Constituency30th district (1999–2002)
31st district (2003–2010)
Personal details
Eric Tradd Schneiderman

(1954-12-31) December 31, 1954 (age 68)
New York City, New York, U.S.
Political partyDemocratic
SpouseJennifer Cunningham (divorced)
EducationAmherst College (BA)
Harvard University (JD)

Life and early career Edit

Schneiderman was born to a Jewish family[3] in New York City, the son of Abigail Heyward and Irwin Schneiderman, a lawyer.[4] He graduated from the Trinity School in New York City in 1972 and Amherst College in 1977. He earned his Juris Doctor from Harvard Law School in 1982.[5]

Schneiderman served as a judicial clerk for two years within the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York and subsequently joined the international law firm Kirkpatrick and Lockhart LLP (now known as K&L Gates), where he became a partner.[6] Schneiderman married Jennifer Cunningham in 1990.[4] They later divorced in 1996. They have a daughter, Catherine,[7] who is married to Matthew Newton.[8]

New York Senate Edit

Schneiderman was elected to represent the 31st district in the New York State Senate. At the time, this district comprised Manhattan's Upper West Side, as well as Morningside Heights, West Harlem, Washington Heights, Inwood, and Marble Hill, in addition to part of Riverdale in the Bronx.[9]

Elections Edit

In the 1998 Democratic primary, Schneiderman, defeated Daniel O'Donnell, a civil rights attorney, with 68% of the vote.[10] In the general election, he defeated Vincent McGowen with 82% of the vote.[11] He won re-election in 2000 (84%),[12] in 2002 (87%),[13] 2004 (89%),[14] 2006 (92%),[15] and 2008 (90%).[16]

Tenure Edit

Schneiderman was the chief sponsor of the Rockefeller Drug Law reforms, which were passed and signed into law in 2009 by Governor David Paterson. The reforms included reducing reliance on long, mandatory minimum sentences, and allocating funds for alternatives to incarceration, focusing on treatment and reentry of prisoners into society.[17] His other legislative activities include passing ethics reforms[18][19] to root out fraud against taxpayers.

Attorney General Edit

Elections Edit

Then Attorney General Andrew Cuomo endorsing Schneiderman during the 2010 election.

Schneiderman was the Democratic Party nominee for New York Attorney General. He denied being involved in a hit-and-run automobile accident in July 2010.[20][21][22][23] He defeated Nassau County District Attorney Kathleen Rice and three other candidates in the Democratic primary on September 14, 2010.[24] Schneiderman defeated Republican nominee and Richmond County District Attorney Dan Donovan in the general election[25] and took office on January 1, 2011.

Schneiderman won re-election in 2014.[26] His major opponent was Republican John P. Cahill,[26] who had been an environmental conservation commissioner for the state.[27]

Tenure Edit

Schneiderman was instrumental in pushing for a tougher fraud settlement with large banks over illegal foreclosure practices. Along with California Attorney General Kamala Harris, Schneiderman pushed to prevent the settlement from including immunity for the banks from further investigation and prosecution of other related illegal activities.[28]

In 2011, Melissa DeRosa, who was later the Secretary to New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, became deputy chief of staff and acting chief of staff for Schneiderman.[29]

In August 2013, Schneiderman filed a $40 million civil lawsuit against Donald Trump for his "Trump University" (now known as Trump Entrepreneur Initiative), alleging it to be an "unlicensed university"[30] and calling it a "bait-and-switch scheme".[31] Trump denied all accusations, calling Schneiderman a "political hack".[32] In October 2014, a New York judge found Trump personally liable for the institution's not having the required license.[33]

In September 2013, Schneiderman announced a settlement with 19 companies to prevent astroturfing; i.e., buying fake online praise. "'Astroturfing' is the 21st century's version of false advertising, and prosecutors have many tools at their disposal to put an end to it," according to Schneiderman. The companies paid $350,000 to settle the matter, but the settlement opened the way for private suits as well. "Every state has some version of the statutes New York used," according to lawyer Kelly H. Kolb. "What the New York attorney general has done is, perhaps, to have given private lawyers a road map to file suit."[34][35]

Schneiderman and Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. were sued in 2015 in a constitutional challenge to New York's 1997 ban on mixed martial arts.[36][37] The following year, the New York State Legislature legalized MMA in the state.[38]

In November 2015, Schneiderman issued cease-and-desist letters to daily fantasy sports companies DraftKings and FanDuel, accusing the companies of operating a gambling enterprise that is illegal under New York law.[39] This sparked a six-month-long legal battle.[40] Schneiderman reached a settlement with the companies in March 2016, under which DraftKings and FanDuel agreed to stop operating in New York until September 2016 and Schneiderman agreed to drop all of the state's suits against DraftKings and FanDuel—except for a false advertising claim against FanDuel—if the New York State Legislature passed legislation legalizing daily fantasy sports by the adjournment of the session.[41][42][43]

In 2017, during President Donald Trump's first year in office, the Trump administration sought to scrap numerous Obama-era environmental regulations that Trump viewed as an impediment to business.[44] Schneiderman filed over 50 lawsuits opposing Trump's environmental actions.[45]

In February 2018, Schneiderman brought a civil rights lawsuit against The Weinstein Company, alleging the company "repeatedly broke New York law by failing to protect its employees from pervasive sexual harassment, intimidation, and discrimination". The lawsuit delayed the sale of The Weinstein Company with the Attorney General adding, "Any sale of the Weinstein Company must ensure that victims will be compensated."[46][47]

Allegations of abuse and resignation Edit

On May 7, 2018, Jane Mayer and Ronan Farrow reported in The New Yorker that Schneiderman had physically abused at least four women during his tenure as Attorney General.[1] According to the report, Schneiderman had, between about 2013 and 2016, committed acts of violence against three romantic partners (blogger and activist Michelle Manning Barish, author and actress Tanya Selvaratnam,[48] and a third woman), as well as an unnamed female attorney.[1] The women said that Schneiderman had choked, hit or violently slapped them, all without their consent.[49] Selvaratnam added that Schneiderman spat on her, choked her, called her his "brown slave," ordered her to call him "Master" and say that she was "his property," and demanded that she find another woman who would be willing to engage in a ménage à trois.[1][48] Both Selvaratnam and Barish alleged that Schneiderman engaged in a pattern of alcohol abuse, and that he had threatened to kill them if they ended their respective relationships with him. Mayer and Farrow reported that they confirmed the women's allegations with photographs of wounds and bruises, as well as with statements from friends in whom the women had confided after the assaults.[1]

In his initial response to the allegations, Schneiderman said: "In the privacy of intimate relationships, I have engaged in role-playing and other consensual sexual activity. I have not assaulted anyone. I have never engaged in nonconsensual sex, which is a line I would not cross."[49] Three hours after the article was published in The New Yorker, Schneiderman announced his resignation effective the next day. In a statement, he said that he "strongly contested" the allegations, but resigned because they would "effectively prevent" him from performing the duties of his office.[50][51] He did not seek re-election.[52] Schneiderman's deputy, Solicitor General Barbara Underwood, was appointed to replace him as Attorney General.[53][54]

Governor Andrew Cuomo assigned Nassau County District Attorney Madeline Singas as a special prosecutor to investigate possible criminal charges against Schneiderman.[55][56][57] On November 8, 2018, Singas announced that Schneiderman would not be prosecuted. Singas stated that she believed the allegations made by Schneiderman's accusers, but added that "legal impediments, including statutes of limitations, preclude criminal prosecution." In response, Schneiderman stated, "I recognize that District Attorney Singas' decision not to prosecute does not mean I have done nothing wrong. I accept full responsibility for my conduct in my relationships with my accusers, and for the impact it had on them." Schneiderman further stated that he was "committed to a lifelong path of recovery and making amends" and apologized for the pain he had caused.[58]

In 2019, Schneiderman had completed a class on becoming a meditation teacher.[59] As a supporter of the #MeToo movement prior to the allegations against him, Schneiderman has worked to address and rectify his personal behavior. In 2022, he promised not to run for political office again.[60]

Electoral history Edit

New York State Senate 30th district election, 1998
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Eric Schneiderman 65,158 81.98
Republican* Vincent McGowan 10,919 13.74
Green Julia Willebrand 1,979 2.49
Conservative* David Branche 1,421 1.79

*McGowan was also listed on the Liberal Party line; Brance was also listed on the Right to Life Party line.

New York State Senate 30th district election, 2000
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic* Eric Schneiderman (inc.) 90,587 84.12
Republican* Roger Madon 14,516 13.48
Liberal Marc Stadtmauer 1,904 1.77
Conservative Paul Gallant Jr. 680 0.63

*Schneiderman was also listed on the Working Families Party line; Madon was also listed on the Independence Party line.

New York State Senate 31st district election, 2002
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic* Eric Schneiderman (inc.) 40,900 86.52
Republican Bienvenido Toribio Jr. 5,843 12.36
Conservative Michael Walters 528 1.12

*Schneiderman was also listed on the Working Families Party line.

New York State Senate 31st district election, 2004
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic* Eric Schneiderman (inc.) 76,365 89.17
Republican Jose Goris 9,272 10.83

*Schneiderman was also listed on the Working Families Party line.

New York State Senate 31st district election, 2006
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic* Eric Schneiderman (inc.) 51,202 92.30
Republican Stylo Sapaskis 4,270 7.70

*Schneiderman was also listed on the Working Families Party line.

New York State Senate 31st district election, 2008
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic* Eric Schneiderman (inc.) 80,832 89.97
Republican Martin Chicon 8,349 9.29
Conservative Stephen Bradian 662 0.74

*Schneiderman was also listed on the Working Families Party line.

New York Attorney General Democratic primary election, 2010
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Eric Schneiderman 227,203 34.36
Democratic Kathleen Rice 210,726 31.87
Democratic Sean Coffey 108,185 16.36
Democratic Richard Brodsky 65,683 9.93
Democratic Eric Dinallo 49,499 7.49
New York Attorney General election, 2010
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic* Eric Schneiderman 2,477,438 55.78
Republican* Dan Donovan 1,909,525 42.99
Libertarian Carl Person 36,488 0.82
Freedom Ramon Jimenez 18,028 0.41

*Schneiderman was also listed on the Independence Party and Working Families Party line; Donovan was also listed on the Conservative Party line.

New York Attorney General election, 2014
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic* Eric Schneiderman (inc.) 2,069,956 55.73
Republican* John Cahill 1,538,990 41.43
Green Ramon Jimenez 80,813 2.18
Libertarian Carl Person 24,746 0.67

*Schneiderman was also listed on the Independence Party, Working Families Party, and Women's Equality Party lines; Cahill was also listed on the Conservative Party and Stop Common Core Party lines.

See also Edit

References Edit

  1. ^ a b c d e Mayer, Jane; Farrow, Ronan (May 7, 2018). "Four Women Accuse New York's Attorney General of Physical Abuse". New Yorker.
  2. ^ Sonia Moghe. "Former New York AG Eric Schneiderman's law license has been suspended for a year over allegations of abuse". CNN. Retrieved February 4, 2022.
  3. ^ Times of Israel: "NY state attorney says he was target of anti-Semitic Trump supporters" August 27, 2016.
  4. ^ a b "Jennifer Cunningham Weds Eric Schneiderman". The New York Times. October 8, 1990. Retrieved August 28, 2016.
  5. ^ "Retrieved August 31, 2011". Archived from the original on September 2, 2011.
  6. ^ Jimmy Vielkind (October 21, 2009). "The Patience of Schneiderman". Observer. Retrieved August 28, 2016.
  7. ^ Logan, Shari; Eustachewich, Lia; Sheehy, Kate (May 8, 2018). "Schneiderman's daughter was engaged to an alleged abuser". New York Post.
  8. ^ Fowler, Bella (November 12, 2021). "Funeral moment confirms Matthew rumour". Retrieved November 12, 2021.
  9. ^ "ERIC T. SCHNEIDERMAN (FORMER) (D, WF) 31ST SENATE DISTRICT". NY Senate. Retrieved June 3, 2014.
  10. ^ "NY State Senate 30 - D Primary Race - Sep 15, 1998". Our Campaigns. Retrieved July 24, 2012.
  11. ^ "NY State Senate 30 Race - Nov 03, 1998". Our Campaigns. Retrieved July 24, 2012.
  12. ^ "NY State Senate 30 Race - Nov 07, 2000". Our Campaigns. Retrieved July 24, 2012.
  13. ^ "NY State Senate 31 Race - Nov 05, 2002". Our Campaigns. Retrieved July 24, 2012.
  14. ^ "NY State Senate 31 Race - Nov 02, 2004". Our Campaigns. Retrieved July 24, 2012.
  15. ^ "NY State Senate 31 Race - Nov 07, 2006". Our Campaigns. Retrieved July 24, 2012.
  16. ^ "NY State Senate 31 Race - Nov 04, 2008". Our Campaigns. Retrieved July 24, 2012.
  17. ^ "New York Passes Rockefeller Drug Law Reform". Legal Action Center. Retrieved July 13, 2011.
  18. ^ John Berry / The Post-Standard, 2009. "NY hopes incentive will help blow the whistle on tax cheats". Retrieved July 24, 2012.
  19. ^ Breidenbach, Michelle. "NY hopes incentive will help blow the whistle on tax cheats". Syracuse Post-Standard. Retrieved January 9, 2011.
  20. ^ ANAHAD O'CONNOR (July 13, 2010). "Senator Riding in Car During What Witnesses Call Hit-Run". The New York Times. Retrieved May 15, 2018. A state senator running for New York attorney general was a passenger in a car involved Monday night in what witnesses called a hit-and-run accident. The senator, Eric T. Schneiderman, who represents parts of Manhattan and the Bronx, was leaving the NY1 studio in Chelsea after taping an interview when his driver hit a parked minivan and left the scene.
  21. ^ "NY AG Candidate Involved in What Witnesses Call Hit-and-Run". NBC New York WNBC. July 14, 2010. Retrieved May 15, 2018. An eyewitness saw the incident and recorded Schneiderman's license plate number, which the car owned traced and called police.
  22. ^ GLENN BLAIN; KENNETH LOVETT (July 14, 2010). "Attorney General candidate Eric Schneiderman involved in 'hit-&-run' with Elena Kagan's niece". New York Daily News. Retrieved May 15, 2018. "He has spoken with the owner of the other vehicle, expressed his sincere apology and offered to pay for all repairs," Freedland said.
  23. ^ Erik Engquist (May 14, 2018). "Unanswered questions in the Schneiderman scandal". Crain's New York Business - Crain Communications. Retrieved May 15, 2018. Some years ago he was involved in a hit-and-run, for which he blamed a staff member—a claim that seems dubious now
  24. ^ Basil Katz, "Schneiderman wins primary for NY attorney general". Reuters, September 15, 2010.
  25. ^ "Schneiderman defeats Donovan in tight AG race". Newsday.
  26. ^ a b Bolger, Timothy (November 5, 2014). "NY Attorney General Eric Schneiderman Wins Second Term".
  27. ^ "Schneiderman's exit creates new dynamic in state politics". May 16, 2018.
  28. ^ Gormley, Michael (February 3, 2012). "NY's Schneiderman Sues Banks in Foreclosure Effort". Associated Press. Retrieved February 17, 2012.
  29. ^ Foderaro, Lisa W. (April 17, 2017). "Cuomo Promotes Chief of Staff, Melissa DeRosa, to Be His Secretary". The New York Times. Retrieved August 6, 2021.
  30. ^ Peralta, Eyder. "New York A.G. Sues Donald Trump Over 'Unlicensed' University". NPR. Retrieved August 26, 2013.
  31. ^ Pagliery, Jose. "Trump defends his school, prosecutor calls it 'a scam'". CNN Money. Retrieved August 26, 2013.
  32. ^ Gormley, Michael. "Trump Calls NY Attorney General a 'Political Hack'". ABC News. Retrieved August 26, 2013.
  33. ^ Karen Freifeld (October 16, 2014). "New York judge finds Donald Trump liable for unlicensed school". Reuters. Retrieved February 20, 2015.
  34. ^ Brush, Pete (September 23, 2013). "NY 'Astroturfing' Cases Mark Fertile Ground For Civil Suits". Law360. LexisNexis. Retrieved February 20, 2014.
  35. ^ "A.G. Schneiderman Announces Agreement With 19 Companies To Stop Writing Fake Online Reviews And Pay More Than $350,000 In Fines". New York State Office of the Attorney General. State of New York. Archived from the original on September 26, 2013. Retrieved February 20, 2014.
  36. ^ Joseph Ax, [Mixed martial arts promotion sues New York State over ban], Reuters (September 28, 2015).
  37. ^ Ben Popper, UFC Sues New York: Fighters Have First Amendment Right to Mixed Martial "Arts", The New York Observer (November 15, 2011).
  38. ^ Laura Wagner, New York Legalizes Professional Mixed Martial Arts Fights,, (April 15, 2016).
  39. ^ "A.G. Schneiderman Issues Cease-And-Desist Letters to FanDuel And DraftKings, Demanding That Companies Stop Accepting Illegal Wagers in New York State". November 11, 2015. Retrieved August 28, 2016.
  40. ^ What the suspension of DraftKings, FanDuel in N.Y. means for DFS, Sports Illustrated (March 21, 2016).
  41. ^ Chris Grove, FanDuel, DraftKings Reach Settlement With New York Attorney General, Legal Sports Report (March 21, 2016).
  42. ^ Glenn Blain, FanDuel and DraftKings suspended in New York until Legislature comes up with new regulations, New York Daily News (March 21, 2016).
  43. ^ Statement From A.G. Schneiderman On Agreements With FanDuel and DraftKings, Office of the New York State Attorney General.
  44. ^ Popovich, Nadja; Albeck-Ripka, Livia (October 5, 2017). "52 Environmental Rules on the Way Out Under Trump". The New York Times. Retrieved December 8, 2017.
  45. ^ Milman, Oliver. "'Sloppy and careless': courts call out Trump blitzkrieg on environmental rules". The Guardian. Retrieved February 26, 2018.
  46. ^ Barnes, Brooks and William Neuman Weinstein Company Sale Delayed by N.Y. Attorney General Lawsuit. New York Times. February 11, 2018.
  47. ^ Feely, Jef, Anousha Sakoui, and Patricia Hurtado. Weinstein Co. Purchase Offer Deemed Unacceptable by New York AG. Bloomberg. February 11, 2018.
  48. ^ a b Gupta, Alisha Haridasani (May 17, 2021). "When Your Abuser Is a Powerful Politician". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved September 12, 2022.
  49. ^ a b Hakim, Danny; Wang, Vivian (May 7, 2018). "Eric Schneiderman, New York's Attorney General, Resigns Amid Assault Accusations". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved May 7, 2018.
  50. ^ "Statement By Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman | New York State Attorney General". May 7, 2018. Retrieved May 8, 2018.
  51. ^ "NY's top lawyer quits amid assault claims". May 8, 2018 – via
  52. ^ Feuer, Alan (November 8, 2018). "Schneiderman Will Not Face Criminal Charges in Abuse Complaints" – via
  53. ^ Lentz, Jon (December 25, 2018). "Barbara Underwood, liberal heroine". CSNY.
  54. ^ McKinley, Jesse (May 22, 2018). "Barbara Underwood Approved as State Attorney General; First Woman to Hold Post" – via
  55. ^ "New York Today: The Latest on Eric Schneiderman". The New York Times. May 9, 2018. Retrieved May 9, 2018.
  56. ^ Ransom, Jan (May 13, 2018). "Prosecutor Brings Experience to Schneiderman Inquiry". The New York Times. Retrieved September 24, 2018.
  57. ^ Vilensky, Mike (May 8, 2018). "New York Attorney General Schneiderman Resigns After Abuse Allegations". The Wall Street Journal. ISSN 0099-9660. Retrieved September 24, 2018.
  58. ^ Campbell, Jon (November 8, 2018). "Ex-AG Eric Schneiderman won't face criminal charges for alleged abuse". Democrat and Chronicle. Retrieved January 3, 2018.
  59. ^ Gregorian, Dareh (January 30, 2019). "Disgraced former NY AG Eric Schneiderman now a meditation teacher". NBC News. Retrieved December 7, 2020.
  60. ^ Baker, Katie J. M. (February 9, 2022). "Can A #MeToo Villain Change?". BuzzFeed News. Retrieved June 30, 2023.

Further reading Edit

External links Edit

New York State Senate
Preceded by Member of the New York Senate
from the 30th district

Succeeded by
Preceded by Member of the New York Senate
from the 31st district

Succeeded by
Preceded by Chair of the New York Senate Codes Committee
Succeeded by
Party political offices
Preceded by Democratic nominee for Attorney General of New York
2010, 2014
Succeeded by
Legal offices
Preceded by Attorney General of New York
Succeeded by