Posted by Curt on 8 May, 2018 at 6:16 pm. 5 comments already!


New York State attorney general Eric Schneiderman has resigned, just hours after it was reported that he had been accused of violent assaults on women he had dated. These allegations, which include threats that Schneiderman made to stalk and kill the women if they told on him, came as a shock—except to anyone who has followed his career in politics. Schneiderman’s louche ethics have been well known. You didn’t need an “in” at Albany watering holes; just reading the newspapers would have told you plenty.

In 2010, when Schneiderman first ran for statewide office, he was involved in a hit-and-run accident. Then a state senator, he claimed to have been a passenger in his own car when his 22-year-old staffer Rachel Kagan—niece of Supreme Court Justice Elena Kagan—smashed into a parked car and drove away, after causing $3,000 worth of damage. A passerby witnessed the crash and wrote down Schneiderman’s license plate. Schneiderman later told the owner of the parked car that he “disciplined the staffer,” and offered to pay for the damage, though his office insisted that it was “outrageous” to call the incident a hit-and-run.

Schneiderman later had a brush with trouble regarding his close relations with prominent Hasidic businessman Moshe Stern, the federal government’s chief informant in a major 2013 corruption case involving former state senate president Malcolm Smith. Stern, who provided Schneiderman with entrée to the extensive Hudson Valley Satmar community, was the bagman in the Smith corruption scandal, which revolved around Smith, a Democrat, seeking to obtain the Republican line in the 2013 mayoral race in New York City through the payment of significant bribes to Republican Party leaders. Joseph and Esther Markowitz, the couple who apparently funneled the bribes through Stern, gave Schneiderman $103,000 in campaign contributions, which he donated to charity when their part in the Smith case came to light.

In 2014, when Schneiderman ran for reelection, Randy Credico, a comedian and New York City gadfly who perennially runs for local office on the issue of drug legalization, alleged that he had sniffed cocaine with Schneiderman, then a state senator, in the back of a bar. Schneiderman denied it, admitting to having used marijuana and cocaine up until 1998, but Credico insisted that Schneiderman was doing “bumps” of white powder with him and a group of others. Given the reports from women he dated and beat that Schneiderman was a raging alcoholic who would routinely bring a bottle of scotch to bed, Credico’s story sounds more credible.

Plenty of hints existed, then, that Schneiderman’s public image was not the whole story. And there were rumors about his private life, too, as suggested by President Trump’s 2013 tweet, “Weiner is gone, Spitzer is gone—next will be lightweight A.G. Eric Schneiderman. Is he a crook? Wait and see, worse than Spitzer or Weiner.”

But Schneiderman was such an exemplar of a progressive-activist hero—suing Exxon, working in concert with Robert Mueller to obtain pardon-proof convictions against Trump associates, speaking at the Women’s March—that people who probably knew better looked away from evidence of his wrongdoing. Even the closest friends of one of Schneiderman’s victims encouraged her not to speak out, “arguing that Schneiderman was too valuable a politician for the Democrats to lose.” Like Harvey Weinstein and other prominent liberals who spoke out on behalf of women’s issues, Schneiderman’s power and prestige protected him, for a time, from public accusation.

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