Will Barclay appointed to panel selecting NY attorney general; interviews start today

Preet Bharara

Up first was the current acting attorney general, Barbara Underwood, who is the favorite to win the appointment.

Schneiderman stepped down last week only hours after the publication of a story in The New Yorker detailing the accounts of four women who claim he physically abused them. Schneiderman has denied the accusations.

Per state protocol, Barbara Underwood, who served as New York's solicitor general since 2007, was sworn in as acting attorney general by Chief Judge Janet DiFiore of the New York Court of Appeals on May 8.

Underwood, who holds a top-level position in the office, was named acting attorney general after Eric Schneiderman resigned following allegations he assaulted former girlfriends. Several candidates who chose not to go through the Legislature's appointment process are expected to compete for their party's nomination to run for attorney general.

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She was one of seven candidates scheduled to interview Tuesday, including Assemblyman Thomas Abinanti of Westchester County, with another six candidates scheduled for Wednesday. O'Donnell of Manhattan, actress Rosie O'Donnell's brother, and Elizabeth Holtzman, a former congresswoman and New York City comptroller.

But she won't have to contend with Rep. Kathleen Rice (D-LI), who announced Tuesday she would be running for re-election instead. Michael Gianaris, a Queens Democrat.

"G$3 iven the timing of Eric Schneiderman's resignation and the current state law prohibiting candidates from seeking two offices simultaneously, I have determined that I can not run for Attorney General at this time", she said.

But at least three of the other candidates think Underwood - who some lawmakers have already said they favor for the interim job - may be the best qualified to serve out Schneiderman's term. 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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