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Attorneys for Pro-Life Advocates Respond to Schneiderman Resignation

Eric Schneiderman (MSNBC YouTube channel)

Headlines accusing former New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman of sexual harassment and assault, and his subsequent resignation, have generated response from many quarters, including the Thomas More Society. The nonprofit, national, public-interest law firm is currently defending a group of peaceful pro-life protesters in a federal harassment lawsuit brought against them by Schneiderman, in his former capacity as New York's top law officer.

Martin Cannon, Thomas More Society Special Counsel, represents 10 Christian sidewalk counselors, members of Church@TheRock in Brooklyn. In June 2017, Schneiderman filed a federal lawsuit against these peaceful pro-life advocates. Despite lack of evidence from his yearlong surveillance and targeted action plan, Schneiderman charged these sidewalk counselors—who offer abortion-bound women information on life-affirming alternatives—with "a weekly pattern of threatening, obstructive and violent activity." Cannon labels the level of falsity in this charge "grotesque" and views the purpose of Schneiderman's suit as being "to shut down their advocacy and get them off the sidewalk."

The allegations of violence and physical abuse by Schneiderman put the former attorney general's accusations against the Brooklyn pro-life advocates in a new light.

A June 20, 2017, press release from Schneiderman's office falsely claimed that these peaceful pro-life sidewalk counselors have a history of threatening, violent and obstructive behavior, repeatedly harassed, threatened and menaced those approaching the abortion facility, and subjected abortion-bound women to a "barrage of unwanted physical contact," as well as verbal abuse and threats of harm.

Unlike the women who have described specific instances of Schneiderman's violence, abuse and threats, the former attorney general's prosecution of these pro-life sidewalk counselors has shown no evidence of violence, force, threats, obstruction or inappropriate contact.

What might Schneiderman's exposure reveal about his claims against our clients? Cannon explains, "Schneiderman's case against our clients depends upon outlandish hyperbole: A willingness to look at acceptable conduct and call it, with the power of his office, what it plainly is not.

"Mr. Schneiderman has stridently voiced support of women's causes, though it now appears he has little respect for women. This pretense suggests that his claims against our clients, like his so-called support of women, are based on obeisance to the radical feminist agenda, and not upon what is true."

Notable witnesses brought by Schneiderman have included "Millionaire Abortionist" Merle Hoffman, who testified that pro-life advocates should be considered the "American Taliban," and an abortion clinic escort whose testimony was proven to be borrowed from another escort, at a different clinic, describing conduct of people who are not Thomas More Society clients.

Read more about former New York Attorney General Schneiderman's attempt to prevent abortion-bound women from being offered information on life-saving alternatives and the Thomas More Society's defense of peaceful pro-life advocates in the case People v. Griepp et al. here.

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