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Sexual harassment and assault

Donald Trump ‘was told in 2013 about Eric Schneiderman abuse claims’ – but ‘New Yorker’ journalists deny they’ve been used

The journalists who broke the Schneiderman story have denied claims that they were used by Trump to take down the president’s long-time rival

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 12 May, 2018, 1:57am
UPDATED : Saturday, 12 May, 2018, 1:59am

US President Donald Trump was made aware of sexual misconduct allegations about then-New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman – with whom he had enmity – around 2013, as was his personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, it has been claimed.

Lawyer Peter Gleason said in a letter filed in Manhattan federal court on Friday that two women had approached him five years ago with complaints that they were “sexually victimised” by Schneiderman. 

Counselling against reporting the allegations to Manhattan’s district attorney based on his past experiences with political corruption cases, Gleason says, he discussed the women’s allegations with a retired New York Post journalist, Stephen Dunleavy, who offered to discuss the matter with Trump.

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“Mr. Dunleavy did indeed discuss this very matter with Mr. Trump as evidenced by a phone call I received from attorney Michael Cohen,” Gleason, a lawyer in Mahopac, New York, wrote to the judge.

“During my communications with Mr. Cohen I shared with him certain details of Schneiderman’s vile attacks on these two women.”

Schneiderman’s lawyer, Isabelle Kirshner, declined to comment.

On Saturday, Jayne Mayer and Ronan Farrow, the New Yorker journalists who broke the Schneiderman story, denied that they had been used by Trump to take down the former attorney general, against whom the president has had a long-standing grudge.

“Just to be clear: not one source for our story on Schneiderman has any ties to Trump or Michael Cohen,” Mayer wrote. “Our sources all are deeply opposed to Trump and deeply disappointed that Schneiderman let them and their Cause down.”

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Farrow responded to a claim in a similar fashion, saying “Nope. None of our leads came via Trump people, and we had no knowledge of Gleason. 

“No surprise there were other investigations—legit ones and political smears—as allegations were so widespread. But ours didn’t flow from any of that. Women in the story were all Dems, incidentally.”

Gleason’s letter was the latest salvo in a battle over the records seized by the FBI last month from Cohen’s office and residences and electronic devices.

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Gleason requested a protective order to seal all correspondence that Cohen may have had about the women, in part to protect their identities as assault victims.

Trump’s potential knowledge of allegations against Schneiderman haven’t previously been disclosed, although the men have publicly feuded over Trump’s business practices.

Schneiderman sought to sue Trump University in state court in 2012, and filed a complaint the next year in federal court, claiming the for-profit school defrauded students.

In a tweet on September 11, 2013, Trump took aim at Schneiderman while also referring to New York politicians who’d resigned over allegations of sexual misconduct, Anthony Weiner and Eliot Spitzer.

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“Weiner is gone, Spitzer is gone -- next will be lightweight A.G. Eric Schneiderman. Is he a crook? Wait and see, worse than Spitzer or Weiner,” Trump tweeted.

Trump settled the Trump University case in late 2016, after he was elected president, for $25 million.

Schneiderman resigned on Tuesday, three hours after The New Yorker printed the article, which detailed how four women, two of whom it identified, accused him of physical violence.

The resignation followed years of legislative and legal advocacy by Schneiderman for women’s rights, including protecting women from physical and sexual abuse.