Gov. Cuomo: ‘Total confidence’ in Singas to lead Schneiderman probe
Gov. Andrew Cuomo spoke Thursday alongside district attorneys from Manhattan, Nassau and Suffolk about the pending investigation into allegations of abuse against former Attorney General Eric Schneiderman.
News 12 reported that four women publicly accused Schneiderman of physical abuse while dating him. In an article published in the New Yorker, the women allege Schneiderman "repeatedly hit them, often after drinking, frequently in bed and never with their consent.”
On Wednesday, Gov. Cuomo appointed Nassau DA Madeline Singas to lead the investigation into the allegations.
“We want people of the state to know that nobody is above the law,” said Gov. Cuomo.
He called the #MeToo movement “a societal tipping point” much like the one being led by students in the fight for gun reform.
Singas then highlighted her background as a career prosecutor who headed up the first Special Victims Unit in the Nassau District Attorney’s Office. She was also a founding member of the Domestic Violence Unit in the Queens District Attorney’s Office.
She said that “no stone will be left unturned” during her investigation.
“Helping just one person leave an abusive relationship is more gratifying than any work I have ever done,” she said.
Gov. Cuomo also said that Singas will be tasked to see if there was a culture of abuse inside the Attorney General’s Office.
“She is well-experienced and well-briefed in these areas in particular…I have total confidence in her abilities,” said the governor.
The governor's selection of Singas as special prosecutor initially angered Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr., who argued that he had jurisdiction over the case because three of the alleged assaults happened in Manhattan.
But Gov. Cuomo said Vance had a conflict of interest since Schneiderman had been investigating why Vance's office had not brought harassment charges against disgraced Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein.
“Even in matters of criminal justice, perceptions matter, and I don't want any perception of a conflict of interest,” said Gov. Cuomo.
In a show of unity, Vance said he will stand with his DA partners.
"We're all going to work together and we're all going to do it thoughtfully and we're going to do it collectively and we're going to do it with the best interest of survivors in mind," he said.
Suffolk DA Timothy Sini will assist Singas in the investigation, since one of the alleged incidents involving Schneiderman may have taken place in East Hampton.
Depending on the outcome of the investigation, Singas said possible charges against Schneiderman could include harassment, assault, sexual assault and strangulation.
Schneiderman has denied abusing his accusers.