State Assembly releases list of candidates to fill the office of Attorney General

Photo courtesy of the Office of the Attorney General
Acting Attorney General Barbara Underwood was sworn in on May 8, 2018 by Chief Judge DiFiore. Underwood’s husband Martin Halpern held the Tanach. She is one of several candidates for the job who will be interviewed by the Legislature this week.

Following the unexpected resignation of Attorney General Eric Schneiderman earlier this month, the state Legislature will begin interviewing candidates this Tuesday and Wednesday to find a replacement.

The interviews will be conducted by a bipartisan, bicameral committee consisting of Assemblyman Jeffrey Dinowitz, Assemblywoman Crystal Peoples-Stokes, Assemblyman Matthew Titone, Assemblyman William Barclay, Assemblyman Brian Curran, Sen. Martin Dilan and Sen. Brad Hoylman.

The state Assembly released a list of candidates who have applied to fill the vacancy in the Office of Attorney General, namely acting Attorney General Barbara Underwood, sitting lawmakers Assemblyman Thomas J. Abinanti, D-Pleasantville, and Assemblyman Daniel O’Donnell, D-Morningside Heights. 

Congressman Sean Patrick Maloney, who currently represents New York’s 18th district in the U.S. House of Representatives, was originally on the list of candidates, but has since pulled his name from consideration and announced his endorsement of Underwood for the interim position. 

Other candidates are listed as follows:

Lloyd Constantine, former advisor to Eliot Spitzer and founder of Counsel of Constantine Cannon, a firm that specializes in antitrust litigation.

Michael D. Diederich Jr., of Diederich Law Office, a firm that specializes in representing victims of employment discrimination and harassment.

Jose W. Fernandez, partner in the New York office of Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher and former Assistant Secretary of State for Economic, Energy and Business Affairs.

Nicole Gueron, former attorney for the Attorney General’s office under Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s term as Attorney General.

Elizabeth Holtzman, former U.S. Representative.

Thomas E. Humbach, Rockland County Attorney.

Doris Ling-Cohan, New York State Supreme Court Judge

Mina Quinto Malik, former Executive Director of the Civilian Complaint Review Board of New York City.

Leecia Roberta Eve, Buffalo-area attorney

Jennifer P. Stergion, current Secretary of the Bar Association Committee and a member of the Bar’s Family Law Practice and Procedure Committee.

David Yassky, Dean of Pace University Law School

Alex Zapesochny, attorney, Cardiac Safety Executive Vice President and Clerio Vision Inc. Board of Directors.

Schneiderman’s resignation officially took effect May 8 after The New Yorker published an article with first-person accounts of Schneiderman’s victims detailing the sexual and physical abuse he inflicted on them.

It should be noted that the candidates listed above will be appointed to serve only until November elections, upon which time the position is open to be campaigned for.

Today, Zephyr Teachout launched an exploratory committee to run for Attorney General in November. Teachout is an associate professor at Fordham Law University. She is most well-known for her gubernatorial campaign against Gov. Andrew Cuomo in 2014, and her congressional campaign against Congressman John Faso in 2016.

Many expected New York City Public Advocate Letitia James to apply for the interim appointment, but she ultimately did not. However, according to The Daily News, James may seek the Democratic nomination to run in November.

Additionally, both Rockland County Attorney Thomas Humbach and General Counsel and Head of Regulatory Technology at MANA Partners LLC Manny Alicandro, are currently seeking the GOP nomination to run for Attorney General in November.

The interviews beginning tomorrow will be held in Hearing Room B in the Legislative Office Building in Albany. They are open to the public and will be streamed on the New York State Assembly website.