OPED: Schneiderman gets what he deserves

Josh Greenman
Tribune News Service

The resignation of Eric Schneiderman Monday night was a foregone conclusion given the devastating specificity of the brutality described by women who detailed it to the New Yorker's Ronan Farrow and Jane Mayer.

By their account, Schneiderman was a monster, and a monstrous hypocrite, in his private life.

Hope for truly talented people of good character to contend to replace him.

But as would-be successors line up, the voters of this state should stop and ask ourselves: What the hell is wrong with the people — the men — we so often elect to office? And what the hell is wrong with us for elevating them?

No, not all men (#notallmen, remember that one?) are violent, or even lecherous. But this is a problem that far less frequently plagues women in power. That's just a sociological if not biological fact.

The revelations here by four women, two of them named and on the record, are that Schneiderman, often drinking to excess, hit and choked his romantic partners repeatedly, applied chilling and degrading control over their behavior and threatened them with violence, even death, if they dared to leave him.

More:New York AG’s fall: From women’s defender to alleged abuser

One alleged victim he clocked so hard, it left her with an ear injury that lingered for months.

That the perpetrator here was a man who positioned himself as a champion of women made it all, if possible, a shade more sickening.

In fact, in the wake of Schneiderman's resignation, police and prosecutors — including Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance, who, in a case of the snake eating its own tail, was being probed by Schneiderman himself, at Gov. Cuomo's request, for failing to prosecute Harvey Weinstein in a forcible-groping case — will be duty-bound to consider whether they have a criminal case to press.

These are not just indiscretions the women are describing; they are violent violations of the law.

In 2010, as the state Legislature wrestled with the domestic violence charges for one of its own, Hiram Monserrate, then-state Sen. Schneiderman pressed to toughen up penalties on choking and fought to make "an intent to impede breathing" a misdemeanor punishable by up to a year in jail.

Beyond the damage done to the women in his life, the attorney general's behavior leaves other wreckage in his wake.

The attorney general was leading the charge against Weinstein, demanding compensation for the women he wronged, and overseeing oversight of the Manhattan district attorney's decision not to prosecute Weinstein in a years-old forcible touching case.

Schneiderman has also been a leading critic and legal combatant of President Trump who, critics are quick to point out, has boasted of grabbing women by the crotch without their consent.

Trump and his allies now have cause to discredit all that work as fruit of a politically poisonous tree; Don Jr. has already gleefully seized on the news on Twitter.

Schneiderman has only himself to blame. He treated women like garbage, and in the end, he was the trash to be taken out.

— Josh Greenman is a member of the Daily News editorial board and the paper's opinion editor, overseeing the op-ed page.