NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) – New York’s acting Attorney General Barbara Underwood has been appointed interim attorney general in the aftermath of Eric Schneiderman’s bombshell resignation.
On Tuesday, a joint session of the Democrat-controlled Assembly and the Republican-led Senate voted to name the 73-year-old the state’s top legal chief. She will serve out Schneiderman’s second term, through Dec. 31.
“I want to thank the legislature for entrusting me with the privilege of serving as New York’s 66th Attorney General. It is a tremendous honor and I pledge to serve the people of the Great State of New York with honesty, integrity, and all of the skills I have acquired during decades of public service,” she said in a statement. “At this moment, when so many New Yorkers are fearful of the effects of overreaching and discriminatory federal policies on them and their families, the role of the New York Attorney General’s office is more important than ever. I’ve served in many roles in government throughout my career. But I believe this job – at this moment in history – is the most important job I have ever had.”
Gov. Andrew Cuomo had endorsed public advocate Tish James for the position, but said in a statement, “I commend the Legislature for its sound and prudent decision to appoint acting Attorney General Barbara Underwood.”
“She is a brilliant legal mind and an extraordinarily qualified attorney who has argued 20 cases before the Supreme Court, and she will provide strong leadership and important continuity in the office of Attorney General during these challenging times,” the statement continued. “I am proud to have first appointed Barbara as Solicitor General, and I look forward to continuing to work with her through the remainder of her term to fight for New Yorkers and stand up to an administration in Washington that wants to take us backwards.”
Underwood’s appointment comes two weeks after Schneiderman abruptly resigned when The New Yorker reported that four women accused him of physical abuse. He denied the allegations.
Cuomo named Nassau County District Attorney Madeline Singas special prosecutor to investigate the women’s claims.
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