Eric Schneiderman’s Reputation Went From ‘Wouldn’t Get a Bawdy Joke’ to Brute Overnight

But Mr. Schneiderman, who is divorced with a grown daughter, had also apparently used his position as an excuse to drink heavily, according to an account of one of the women he allegedly physically abused, Michelle Manning Barish. “I would come over for dinner. An already half-empty bottle of red wine would be on the counter. He had had a head start. ‘Very stressful day,’ he would say,” Ms. Manning Barish told The New Yorker. In another episode, the attorney general is depicted as a man consumed by his own hubris, telling Ms. Manning Barish, “I am the law.” There had been tabloid stories describing Mr. Schneiderman’s alleged drug use — which had also been passed around by Mr. Trump. His office denied the accounts, though The New Yorker article said Mr. Schneiderman had misused Xanax.

On Tuesday, Mr. Schneiderman’s fellow Democrats in Albany were expressing shock at the details, citing a public persona that was far more subdued, almost to the point of being restrained. “He seemed beyond strait-laced,” said Assemblyman Sean Ryan, a Democrat from Buffalo. “The kind of guy who wouldn’t get a bawdy joke.”

Mr. Schneiderman’s interest in a healthy lifestyle was well-known, said Ms. Rosenthal, who noted that she had co-sponsored a bill of his in 2009 that protected yoga studios from certain state regulations.

Assemblyman Daniel J. O’Donnell, whom Mr. Schneiderman defeated in the 1998 primary for State Senate, his first elected position in Albany, also said that he had never seen the attorney general drink, but had been struck by a certain professional arrogance, perhaps born of his pedigree: Amherst College, Harvard Law, and a father, Irwin Schneiderman, who was a prominent corporate lawyer. “He had a tendency to talk down to people,” Mr. O’Donnell said. “And didn’t know he was doing it.”

Former staffers said that Mr. Schneiderman could be detached from the minutiae of the office, and rarely spoiled for political fights. He sometimes complained of insomnia, and was known to come into the office later than most employees and sometimes mentioned taking sleep aids.

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