Michelle Manning Barish dated former New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman for more than a year until 2015. In a New Yorker article published in May, Barish and three other women who had romantic relationships or encounters with him described nonconsensual physical violence including slapping and choking. three hours after the story was published.
Last week, a prosecutor announced Schneidermanfor his misconduct. The Nassau County district attorney said in a statement she believes the accusers, but could not pursue criminal charges because of "legal impediments." Schneiderman said in a statement, "I accept full responsibility for my conduct in my relationships with my accusers, and for the impact it had on them."
In her first TV interview since coming forward, Barish told "CBS This Morning" that despite his public apology, Schneiderman has not personally apologized to her for his behavior.
Barish explained she initially spoke out to support the stories of other women who were coming forward, but said doing so was difficult. She struggled with the implications of coming forward and how it would affect her life. Ultimately, she was moved by what happened to other women.
"When [Jane Mayer of the New Yorker] told me there were two other women who were about to go on record and they had been hurt, and one of them had sustained hearing loss, my knees just sort of buckled. And I knew that I had three choices, you know. I could either remain silent, or I could lie or speak up and tell the truth," Barish said.
Now, she's on a different mission. She wants to make sure that the remaining $8.5 million in Schneiderman's campaign fund goes toward helping women who have suffered abuse.
"He spent $2.6 million of it so far on his own expenses. So the National Organization for Women had asked him to donate the rest of what was left in his campaign fund to help women across the state of New York with shelters, programs. There's so much that we can do with that money. And he did not respond. He's been asked again, and he has not responded," she said. "We're not talking about $20,000 here. We're talking about $9 million. That can change a lot of lives. That can change the lives of hundreds of thousands of women."
The former attorney general and his campaign have said they're honoring their commitments and are going to donate the remaining funds to worthy causes. Barish is worried the rest of the money will continue to disappear.
"I see that a lot of money has been spent. I'm concerned at how much more of it is going to be spent. And, also, you know, 'worthy causes' is a pretty general statement. I think that what he did was he assaulted women. He's admitted to this. I was one of them," she said. "And I think a worthy cause and a great step toward healing for all of us is to donate it directly to where he caused that harm and not just some organization that he happens to be very fond of."