New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo: Eric Schneiderman accusers 'should have their day in court'

NEW YORK (WABC) -- New York Governor Andrew Cuomo told reporters Tuesday that the "especially courageous" women who spoke out about state Attorney General Eric Schneiderman's alleged sexual abuse "should have their day in court."

"They should have the opportunity to tell a district attorney the facts and circumstances," he said. "And then, let the district attorney or district attorneys make a decision was to whether there's any criminal liability."

Cuomo has appointed a special prosecutor, saying Nassau District Attorney Madeline Singas will investigate and possibly prosecute "any and all matters concerning the public allegations" against Schneiderman.

Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance has opened an investigation into the accusations. Cuomo, himself a former New York Attorney General, said the alleged incidents took place in a number of counties, and he wants to make sure there are no conflicts of interest in any investigations. So there may be multiple DA offices with jurisdiction.

"What they were expressing was a fear that there would be no justice because he was the attorney general, and power would rule the day," Cuomo said. "That was incorrect, and I want them to know that's incorrect. Not in this state. If it's the president of the United States, if it's the attorney general of New York, nobody is above the law."

Cuomo said it will be up to the DA offices to decide, but he described the allegations as "graphic and definitive."

"The revelations about Attorney General Eric Schneiderman were shocking, disturbing," he said. "In a political environment where almost nothing seems surprising anymore from the federal level all the way and down, and having been callused by everything that's going on in Washington, et cetera. Despite all that, this was still deeply shocking and deeply disturbing."

In the aftermath of the story posted by The New Yorker, Cuomo was among those calling for Schneiderman's resignation.

"No one is above the law, including New York's top legal officer," he said in a statement. "I will be asking an appropriate New York District Attorney to commence an immediate investigation, and proceed as the facts merit. 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."

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