Tuesday, 21 August, 2018

Public Advocate Letitia James plans to enter race for attorney general

Preet Bharara FIT The state's top law-enforcement official should be like Bharara—even better Bharara himself
Melinda Barton | 16 May, 2018, 15:32

The news comes days after she withdrew her name from consideration for appointment as interim AG to temporarily replace Eric Schneiderman - who resigned in disgrace amid allegations he physically abused four women.

Acting Attorney General Barbara Underwood was the first candidate to go forward on Tuesday.

Sixteen candidates have lined up to finish out Eric Schneiderman's term through the end of the year as state attorney general, Politico reported.

The office remains a desirable one for any ambitious Democrat in NY given the office's expansive powers, ability to garner favorable headlines and its clear stepping stone to becoming governor.

"I don't think any of us expected to be sitting here today".

Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie, D-Bronx, said lawmakers will do their due diligence before appointing Underwood or anyone else. "We want to interview her and every other person".

Acting Attorney General Barbara Underwood being interviewed for the interim appointment in Albany.

"I believe that, at this critical time, the Attorney General must be a stabilizing and strong voice for the rule of law", she said, noting that she has argued 20 cases in front of the U.S. Supreme Court. "But I can assure you that's not who I am".

She said some people joke that the National Association of Attorneys General is actually the "National Association of Aspiring Governors".

"I'm not sleeping very much", she said with a laugh.

Underwood, who said she was stunned by the "deeply disturbing" accusations, said she views herself as a competent caretaker who will provide continuity in the attorney general's office.

Among those who have spoken positively of Underwood, a Democrat, is Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan, a Suffolk County Republican. Republicans have criticized Cuomo for chiming in on the attorney general selection process, saying the state's top legal agency must remain independent from the governor's office.