Legislature interviews Underwood, others as potential successor to AG Schneiderman

Preet Bharara

The state solicitor general under Schneiderman, Underwood stepped into the attorney general's office in an acting capacity after Schneiderman stepped down last week when The New Yorker detailed allegations from four women who say he physically abused them.

In a lawsuit filed Monday in Manhattan Supreme Court against acting Attorney General Barbara Underwood, Thomas claims: "As a result of the Attorney General resigning abruptly under a cloud of impropriety, there is no Attorney General".

"I am not a politician", Underwood said. State lawmakers can appoint a successor to finish out the term of former Attorney General Eric Schneiderman before elections this fall.

One tumultuous week later, Underwood was the first applicant Tuesday to face questions from the bipartisan, bicameral committee of the Legislature, chaired by Democrat Assemblyman Joseph Lentol.

Cuomo, who's running for a third term, has said he has his own favorites for consideration, among them his staff counsel, Alphonso David. "We want to interview her and every other person".

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Barclay, an eight-term Republican and deputy minority leader of the Assembly, said the special panel of lawmakers will review resumes of 16 candidates for the appointment and make recommendations to the full state Legislature. Mike Gianaris and even former U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara.

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. "But I can assure you that's not who I am".

Among those who have spoken positively of Underwood, a Democrat, is Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan, a Suffolk County Republican.

She said some people joke that the National Association of Attorneys General is actually the "National Association of Aspiring Governors". Gueron served as the deputy chief trial counsel to Schneiderman's predecessor, Andrew Cuomo, who this year is running for a third term as NY governor.

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