Disgraced former New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, who resigned from his post in 2018 after multiple women accused him of abuse, will not be able to practice law for a year, according to an appeals court decision.
Schneiderman is suspended from the practice of law starting May 28, according to a decision filed Tuesday by a panel of judges for the New York Supreme Court, Appellate Division, First Department.
The suspension was jointly agreed to by Schneiderman and the Attorney Grievance Committee for the First Judicial Department, which investigates allegations of wrongdoing by attorneys who have law offices in Manhattan.
In the filing, Schneiderman “conditionally admits” to “unwanted physical contact” with three women between 2013 and 2017, that ranged from slapping to applying pressure with his hands onto women’s necks without consent, and that the behavior “adversely reflects on his fitness as a lawyer.”
“Respondent’s admitted misconduct involves verbal and emotional abuse, and unwanted physical contact with three women,” the decision said. “However, respondent does not have any criminal or disciplinary history, he has a significant record of public service, and he has taken steps to address his alcohol abuse and past abusive behavior via his participation in (Alcoholics Anonymous) and therapy.”
Schneiderman has not been criminally charged in connection with the abuse allegations.
A spokesperson for Schneiderman said he declined to comment.
One of the women who alleges Schneiderman physically, verbally and emotionally abused her during their relationship said in a statement she was grateful he was held accountable.
“(My) life was torn apart and telling the truth cost me everything,” Michelle Manning Barish said Tuesday. “It was worth it. I did it for every woman and for our daughters. Keep speaking up, and keep supporting your sisters.”
No criminal charges in connection with abuse allegations
The Grievance Committee began an investigation into allegations of abuse by Schneiderman in May 2019, after a 2018 New Yorker article first reported the claims, according to the decision.
The committee filed a petition against Schneiderman in August 2020 with eight charges against him, alleging he was physically abusive toward three women in violation of the New York Rules of Professional Conduct for attorneys.
A special prosecutor was appointed to oversee an investigation into the allegations in 2018 but declined to charge him.
The decision states that Schneiderman has been taking part in weekly therapy since May 2018, that he completed a one-month inpatient alcohol rehabilitation program, has become an active member of Alcoholics Anonymous and has publicly acknowledged that he is a recovering alcoholic.
As part of a joint agreement motion, Schneiderman, who has been licensed to practice law in New York since 1983, is directed to continue with counseling and be monitored by the New York City Bar Lawyer Assistance Program.
Barish said in her statement she was “grateful for the Attorney Grievance Committee for pursuing charges against Eric for physically abusing me and two other women and for the Supreme Court of the State of New York for holding him accountable.”
“No one is above the law,” she said.