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Reporter who broke Schneiderman abuse allegations dismisses 'role-playing' defense

Former New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman responded to allegations of physical abuse against him by ...

Posted: May 8, 2018 11:42 AM
Updated: May 8, 2018 11:42 AM

Former New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman responded to allegations of physical abuse against him by saying he engaged in consensual "role-playing" and did not assault anyone, but one of the reporters who broke the story Monday night says he doesn't buy that defense.

"I just want to relate the message of one of these women -- and it was a shared sentiment among this group -- that this was not role-playing, that this was not 'Fifty Shades of Grey.' It wasn't in a gray area at all," Ronan Farrow told CNN's Alisyn Camerota Tuesday morning on "New Day."

"This was activity that happened, in many cases, fully clothed, outside of a sexual context, during arguments," Farrow said. "In one case, a woman wasn't even in a relationship at all with him, Alisyn."

Farrow, who with The New Yorker's Jane Mayer co-wrote the story centered on accounts from four accusers, said he had examined photos of the mark left when Schneiderman allegedly struck "a prominent attorney who had worked with him" after she rebuffed his advances.

"It was upsetting to see, so the allegation that this was role-playing, you know, is not consistent with what these women said," Farrow said.

Schneiderman resigned hours after the report by Farrow and Mayer was published.

"In the privacy of intimate relationships, I have engaged in role-playing and other consensual sexual activity," Schneiderman said Monday evening via Twitter. "I have not assaulted anyone. I have never engaged in non-consensual sex, which is a line I would not cross."

In a separate statement about his resignation, Schneiderman, a Democrat, said: "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."

In recent months, Schneiderman had become an outspoken advocate for the #MeToo movement and railed against Harvey Weinstein, who has been accused by multiple women of sexual assault.

Prior to becoming New York's attorney general, Schneiderman was a state senator. In that role, he introduced legislation to criminalize intentional choking and suffocation in New York.

"This is an individual who was a very public champion of women's rights, who in fact introduced anti-choking legislation," Farrow told Camerota. "And he was, according to multiple women in this story, choking them, among other things."

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