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Updated: New York Attorney General Schneiderman resigns; Barbara Underwood takes over

Tue, May 8th 2018 02:30 pm
Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman released this statement Monday night:
"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."
On Tuesday, Acting Attorney General Barbara Underwood said, "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."
Underwood was appointed New York solicitor general in January 2007. Prior to her appointment, she served as counsel and as chief assistant to the U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of New York. From 1998-01 she was the acting solicitor general and principal deputy solicitor general of the U.S. Underwood 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 U.S. 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. Underwood 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.
Underwood received a B.A. from Harvard University (Radcliffe College) and a J.D. from Georgetown University Law Center, where she graduated first in her class. 
Prior to Schneiderman's statement, Gov. Andrew Cuomo released one of his own, wherein he stated, "The New Yorker has published an article on Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, which reports multiple women making serious allegations of assault. No one is above the law, including New York's top legal officer. I will be asking an appropriate New York district attorney to commence an immediate investigation, and proceed as the facts merit. My personal opinion is that, given the damning pattern of facts and corroboration laid out in the article, I do not believe it is possible for Eric Schneiderman to continue to serve as attorney general and, for the good of the office, he should resign."
On Tuesday, Democrat Erie County Executive Mark C. Poloncarz issued the following statement regarding Schneiderman's resignation and "the difficult choice" facing the New York State Legislature:
"Like others, I was shocked to read the multiple, credible allegations against Attorney General Eric Schneiderman. Violence against women can never be tolerated and his resignation is wholly appropriate.
"The upcoming decision facing the Assembly and Senate on the replacement of New York's attorney general is an incredibly important one. The attorney general is the people's lawyer as well as the sheriff of Wall Street. Now is not the time for the legislature to pick an Albany insider, but to choose a highly qualified individual who has the integrity to fight for the values of all New Yorkers.
"The issues facing New York and our country dictate that the legislature makes a decision that is best for all of us, not just a few political insiders. On behalf of all Erie County residents and my fellow New Yorkers I hope they will choose wisely."
Republican Assemblyman Angelo Morinello said, "Eric Schneiderman has met with karma as he coincidentally resigns as the Legislature takes up a resolution to proclaim May 8, 2018, as Domestic Violence Awareness and Prevention Day.
"News of Schneiderman's admission and explanation are both disturbing and unacceptable. As attorney general, Schneiderman championed women's rights, yet he committed the most egregious domestic violence act that can be perpetrated upon women. It's deeply troubling that a man whose job was to uphold the law and prosecute offenders has said he felt his conduct was acceptable.
"Schneiderman's role as the top prosecutor in New York state had the effect of placing him in a position of power over the women he abused, but using a 'significant other' for one's own personal pleasure is never acceptable, no matter what your position is. Although he claimed publicly that he protected their rights, it's what he did in private that truly displayed his lack of integrity. These accusations highlight the lack of morality of public officials who feel their position puts them above the law."
Republican New York State Sen. Rob Ortt said, "Before we close this sad chapter in New York state government scandals and New York City progressive party bosses anoint the next chief prosecutor in our state, I believe there are still serious unresolved issues. In addition to demanding an outside, independent investigation of Mr. Schneiderman's conduct, I'd like to echo the firm stance put forth by the Senate Republican Women's Caucus: Anyone who received donations from Eric Schneiderman - either personal or campaign - should immediately donate them to centers, shelters and programs serving victims domestic violence and abuse. Mr. Schneiderman should do the same with his sizable campaign war chest."

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