It never happens just
once four times.
New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman resigned in shame last week after the New Yorker published the accounts of four women who described how Schneiderman physically abused them.
Today, in a weird twist, a court filing from lawyer Peter Gleason claims that two women came to him in 2012 and 2013 and described similar behavior at the hands of Schneiderman. He told then-New York Post journalist Stephen Dunleavy about the women, who told Donald Trump, who told his personal attorney Michael Cohen.
The lead writer on the New Yorker story, investigative journalist Jane Mayer, tweeted Friday that the two women were not part of her story.
Not same women as the 4 who talked to New Yorker, says Lawyer for 2 Schneiderman Victims who Talked to Michael Cohen https://t.co/VJkxjxVwnC— Jane Mayer (@JaneMayerNYer) May 11, 2018
The timeline of events don’t match up, either. It’s a pattern we’ve seen again and again in the era of #MeToo. Men who abuse women are often accused more than once, or twice, or even four times. Abuse of power is about entitlement, and many powerful men feel very entitled.
The New Yorker reported on the experiences of four women, noting the timing of three of their accounts. Mayer, tweeted that none of the women she interviewed is connected to Trump:
Just to be clear: not one source for our story on Schneiderman has any ties to Trump or Michael Cohen. Our sources all are deeply opposed to Trump and deeply disappointed that Schneiderman let them and their Cause down.— Jane Mayer (@JaneMayerNYer) May 11, 2018
The timeline shows that at least two of the three women whose experiences are dated in the New Yorker story couldn’t have gone to Gleason in 2012 or 2013 (emphasis mine).
Manning Barish was romantically involved with Schneiderman from the summer of 2013 until New Year’s Day in 2015.
In 2016, [Tanya Selvaratnam] attended the Democratic National Convention, in Philadelphia, where Schneiderman introduced himself to her.
In the summer of 2016, the attorney general may have crossed this line again. He went to a party in the Hamptons, where he drank heavily, and invited another guest—a woman he’d known for some time—to join him at an after-party.
The fourth woman’s experience is not dated. However, she told another accuser that she was afraid of Schneiderman, and two friends she did tell discouraged her from saying anything. If she did speak to a lawyer, she did not mention it to the friends.
After the former girlfriend ended the relationship, she told several friends about the abuse. A number of them advised her to keep the story to herself, arguing that Schneiderman was too valuable a politician for the Democrats to lose. She described this response as heartbreaking. And when Schneiderman heard that she had turned against him, she said, he warned her that politics was a tough and personal business, and that she’d better be careful. She told Selvaratnam that she had taken this as a threat.
According to the filing on Friday, one woman spoke to Cohen in 2012. A second woman came forward about a year later. Under those circumstances, at least one of them is a different accuser, possibly both.
It’s about power
We don’t know much about the accounts of the two women who went to Gleason or whether he vetted them thoroughly (as the New Yorker did for its story). But still it’s worth pointing out that a woman told a lawyer a very similar story about Schneiderman years ago.
In that time, he’s gone on to grow in prominence nationally, take on high-profile cases, and further build his reputation in Democratic circles as an ally to women. As my colleague Anna North wrote, “Schneiderman was supposed to be one of the heroes of #MeToo — now his story has turned into the movement’s biggest betrayal.”
Abusive behavior isn’t about tribalism or ideology. Plenty of liberal men who present themselves as champions of women’s rights have been outed in the past year as abusers, including former Sen. Al Franken and Harvey Weinstein. Abuse is about power, and it doesn’t matter what the perpetrator believes.