New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman resigned on Monday after allegations of physical abuse by four women were reported in an article in the New Yorker magazine.
Governor Andrew Cuomo called for Schneiderman's resignation within hours of the article's publication.
"In the last several hours, serious allegations, which I strongly contest, have been made against me," Schneiderman said in a statement. "While these allegations are unrelated to my professional conduct or the operations of the office, they will effectively prevent me from leading the office's work at this critical time. I therefore resign my office, effective at the close of business on May 8, 2018."
In the article published late on Monday, the New Yorker reported that four women who said they had had romantic relationships or encounters with Schneiderman said they had been subjected to nonconsensual physical violence.
Reuters has not independently confirmed the accusations.
"In the privacy of intimate relationships, I have engaged in role-playing and other consensual sexual activity," Schneiderman said in a statement issued by Stu Loeser & Co before he announced his resignation. "I have not assaulted anyone. I have never engaged in non-consensual sex, which is a line I would not cross."
In his statement late on Monday, Cuomo said he would ask a New York district attorney to investigate the accusations against Schneiderman, who is the state's highest law enforcement official.
"My personal opinion is that, given the damning pattern of facts and corroboration laid out in the article, I do not believe it is possible for Eric Schneiderman to continue to serve as Attorney General, and for the good of the office, he should resign," Cuomo said in his statement.
Schneiderman announced his resignation a little more than an hour after Cuomo issued his statement.
The New Yorker reported that two of the women who spoke to the magazine "alleged that he repeatedly hit them, often after drinking, frequently in bed and never with their consent."
The two women who were named in the article both called the abuse by Schneiderman "assault," the magazine reported. One of the women said Schneiderman slapped her across the face after she rejected his advances and that when she told him she wanted to leave, he said, "A lot of women like it. They don't always think they like it, but then they do, and they ask for more," according to the article.
Schneiderman has been New York State's attorney general since late 2010. He has been a high-profile proponent of the #MeToo movement, which has seen accusations of sexual misconduct leveled against prominent men in politics, media, entertainment and business. They include Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein.
In February, Schneiderman sued the Weinstein Company and Weinstein himself, alleging years of sexual harassment and misconduct by the movie producer.
Weinstein has been accused of sexual misconduct by more than 70 women, including rape. He denies having non-consensual sex with anyone.
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