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After Schneiderman's Sudden Fall, NY's Acting Attorney General Is Barbara Underwood

Barbara Underwood
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Barbara Underwood NY AG's office

Barbara Underwood, New York's Solicitor General, will become the state's Attorney General after the sudden resignation of Eric Schneiderman. AG press secretary Amy Spitalnick Tweeted this morning:

Update: Underwood said in a statement, "I am honored to serve the people of New York as acting Attorney General. The work of this office is critically important. Our office has never been stronger, and this extraordinarily talented, dedicated, and tireless team of public servants will ensure that our work continues without interruption."

Schneiderman decided to resign after The New Yorker published accusations of assault from four women, including ex-girlfriends. The allegations were detailed and graphic, depicting Schneiderman as an alcoholic and pill popper who would slap and/or choke the girlfriends. One friend was so alarmed by what she heard, the New Yorker reports, "that she wrote down the details and e-mailed the account to her husband, so that there would be a dated copy of it should any harm come to her friend."

[Danzy] Senna’s document, which she shared with The New Yorker, is dated September 16, 2017, and says, in part, “She told me that her boyfriend of a year, Eric Schneiderman, the Attorney General of New York, has been choking, beating, and threatening her for the entirety of their relationship, and that several times he threatened to have her killed if she ever tried to leave him. She said he knows that she has a lot of really damning information about him, his alcoholism, sexual deviance, and drug use, and she worries about her safety.”

Schneiderman told the New Yorker, "In the privacy of intimate relationships, I have engaged in role-playing and other consensual sexual activity. I have not assaulted anyone. I have never engaged in nonconsensual sex, which is a line I would not cross."

However, less than three hours after the article published, he resigned, releasing a statement, "It’s been my great honor and privilege to serve as Attorney General for the people of the State of New York. In the last several hours, serious allegations, which I strongly contest, have been made against me. While these allegations are unrelated to my professional conduct or the operations of the office, they will effectively prevent me from leading the office’s work at this critical time. I therefore resign my office, effective at the close of business on May 8, 2018."

Schneiderman championed himself a leader for women's causes, introducing legislation to make strangulation in domestic violence situations a felony, speaking at the Women's March, and trying to find justice for Harvey Weinstein's victims, while crusading against President Trump's policies. An acting Attorney General will now be appointed by the State Legislature, where Democrats hold a solid majority through the Assembly:

Of course, some of this tea leaf-reading is just for fun.

The Times Union reports that acting AG Underwood "could theoretically hold the post until voters choose a successor in November, but state law allows the legislature to fill a vacancy in the job." Here's her bio:

Barbara D. Underwood was appointed Solicitor General in January 2007. Prior to her appointment she served as Counsel and as Chief Assistant to the United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York. From 1998 to 2001 she was the Acting Solicitor General and Principal Deputy Solicitor General of the United States. She has held executive positions in the Queens and Brooklyn District Attorneys’ Offices, and served as a trial attorney in the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office. She has argued 20 cases in the United States Supreme Court, as well as many cases in the state and federal courts of appeals.

She has served as Chair of the Executive Committee and Chair of the Council on Criminal Justice of the New York City Bar Association. She was Professor of Law at Yale Law School, Visiting Professor at New York University School of Law, and Adjunct Professor at Brooklyn Law School. She was a law clerk to Chief Judge David L. Bazelon of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit and to Justice Thurgood Marshall of the U.S. Supreme Court. She received a B.A. from Harvard University (Radcliffe College) and a J.D. from Georgetown University Law Center.

Scneiderman had been running unopposed in a Democratic primary for AG; Manny Alicandro, a Wall Street lawyer, was running in the Republican primary.


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