Updated 07/14/2010 09:23 AM
NY1 Exclusive: Schneiderman Defends Handling Of Car Accident
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State Senator Eric Schneiderman is defending himself after a vehicle he was riding in Monday hit a parked car and left the scene of the accident.
An eyewitness tells NY1 that Schneiderman, who is running for state attorney general, was a passenger in the car when it scraped up against a parked car on Ninth Avenue in Chelsea, and then drove away.
The car that was hit is owned by NY1 Executive Editor Melissa Rabinovich.
A mechanic estimates it suffered about $3,000 worth of damage, including a broken rear bumper, rear panel and tail light.
Rabinovich says she only learned of the accident because a bicyclist witnessed it, recorded Schneiderman’s license plate number, and then remained on the scene until Rabinovich left work for the day.
"You're raised to do the right thing. And the right thing would have been to leave a note," Rabinovich said. "It wasn't raining yesterday, the note would have stayed. Just do the right thing -- 'Listen, I hit your car, I caused all this damage, I'll fix it.'"
According to New York State law, if someone is involved in an accident, and the person whose vehicle was damaged is not present, the accident must be reported to the police or a judicial officer as soon as possible.
"I am not trying to shift off responsibility, my staff member hit this person's car, I've apologized, I'm willing to pay for the repairs. It was not a situation as portrayed in your story, that made it sound like she was careening down the street," Schneiderman said.
Meanwhile, NY1 has learned the staffer who was behind the wheel is Rachel Kagan, the niece of U.S. Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan.
Schneiderman had just finished an interview on NY1’s “Inside City Hall” before the incident.
While earlier critical of Schneiderman, upon hearing the candidate’s explanation on “Inside City Hall,” former State Comptroller H. Carl McCall issued the following statement:
“I have heard Eric's explanation of what occurred, accept it, and stand by him 100 percent. He is a man of unassailable integrity."