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Ex-prosecutor facing violence probe

By Deepti Hajela

The Manhattan district attorney's office is investigating allegations of physical violence against women by New York attorney general Eric Schneiderman.

Mr Schneiderman, who held himself out as a champion of women, resigned from office on Monday, hours after accounts of abuse by four women were published in The New Yorker.

It was a swift and stunning fall for a Democrat who had pledged to use the power of his office to hold others accountable for abusing their power.

The women described being violently slapped and choked, verbally abused and threatened by Mr Schneiderman. Some also described him as a heavy drinker. The alleged abuse often happened during what were supposed to be romantic encounters, but the women said the violence was not consensual.

A statement from Danny Frost, a spokesman for Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R Vance Jr, said prosecutors would look into the claims.

Mr Schneiderman's office had been tasked with investigating the Manhattan district attorney's office over its handling of a 2015 sex assault probe involving Harvey Weinstein that resulted in no criminal charges.

NYPD officials said they had not received any complaints, but would investigate thoroughly should any others come forward.

Mr Schneiderman (63), issued a statement to The New Yorker, and later to other media outlets, implying that his conduct was either welcomed by the women, or was not as they described.

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

But after fellow Democrats in New York, including governor Andrew Cuomo and US senator Kirsten Gillibrand, called for his resignation, he quit.

The state's solicitor general, Barbara Underwood, will serve as acting attorney general.

Mr Schneiderman, a former state senator, became attorney general in 2010 and had been running for re-election this year.

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