Attorney General

James Files To Run For AG

jamesagNew York City Public Advocate Letitia James has filed paperwork to run for attorney general, a posting on the state Board of Elections website shows.

The move is not a surprising one, given James’s not-so-quiet push to be appointed to the post last week, though she did not submit her name to lawmakers for consideration.

Lawmakers today will begin the two-day public vetting of potential candidates for the legislative appointment, serving out the remainder of ex-Attorney General Eric Schneiderman’s term in office.

On Monday, Fordham Law School professor and 2014 gubernatorial candidate Zephyr Teachout announced she had formed an exploratory committee to run for attorney general. Teachout, along with other possible candidates like Sen. Mike Gianaris, Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney and ex-U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara have said they would bypass the legislative appointment process.

In Their Own Words: Why They Want To Be AG

The state Assembly on Monday released 83 pages of cover letters and resumes from the 13 people who want to be appointed attorney general by the state Legislature.

The legislative public vetting process begins Tuesday, with Acting Attorney General Barbara Underwood scheduled to speak first.

Many of them at first blush are standard. However, Lloyd Constantine, best known for being an aide to Gov. Eliot Spitzer, wrote in his cover letter that his time serving in a scandal-scarred administration gives him experience in helping “stabilize” an office.

applications5-14-18 by Nick Reisman on Scribd

Maloney Won’t Interview For AG Post

Democratic Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney in a statement Monday said he would not participate in the legislative appointment process to select a new attorney general.

The news was first reported this morning by The Daily News.

Maloney had been among the 17 people who submitted his name to be considered by the Legislature for the vacancy. But in the statement, he endorsed Acting Attorney General Barbara Underwood.

“The Assembly is fulfilling its constitutional responsibility to select someone to serve the remainder of this Attorney General term,” Maloney said.

“I intended to participate in the Assembly’s process out of respect for those proceedings and because I am currently considering whether to run for the office later this year. But, because Acting Attorney General Barbara Underwood has entered the Assembly’s process — and she is a tremendously qualified candidate who could serve out the remainder of this term free of any political considerations — I have decided to support her bid to fill the vacancy between now and the election.”

At the same time, Maloney did not rule out running for the job outright.

“Come November, the people of New York will decide who will be the next Attorney General, and I will decide soon whether to run for that office,” he said.

GOP AG Candidate Makes Upstate Campaign Swing

A lot has changed since Wall Street lawyer Manny Alicandro officially announced his candidacy for New York State Attorney General. The same day the Republican made his announcement, the Democratic incumbent Eric Schneiderman became the subject of multiple allegations of domestic abuse and resigned from office.

Alicandro said he was at a dinner hosted by the Fulton County Republican chairman when the news broke.

“The press release came out and the wire hit with the story and then it was a different world,” he said. “Everybody was pointing to their phones at that event saying, ‘Are you aware what’s going on?”

Alicandro began his Upstate campaign swing Monday with a stop in Buffalo. He said there is perhaps more opportunity now, with Schneiderman gone, taking with him his significant fundraising and name recognition advantages, but his strategy hasn’t really change.

“We still have the same message, really,” Alicandro said. “It’s cleaning up the culture of corruption. I like to talk about corruption in Albany being like a pothole that never gets filled.”

The newly vacant seat potentially created more competition on the GOP side for the candidacy too. Rockland County Attorney Thomas Humbach entered the race shortly after Schneiderman’s resignation.

A number of other names have been floated by members of the party as possible attorneys general, including 2014 candidate John Cahill, state Senator Andrew Lanza and former George Pataki aide Joe Holland. The Daily News reported presumptive Republican gubernatorial candidate Marc Molinaro has even reached out to former U.S. Attorney Preet Bahara about running on a fusion ticket.

“I have no issues again with anybody entering the race. I just think at this point, I’m the front leader. I would appreciate if the party would coalesce around me. I’m the one who had the mettle to jump into this race when nobody really thought I had a chance,” Alicandro said.

He said he believes it would serve the party to best to make the decision at the convention to avoid in-fighting and using resources on an expensive primary when it should take the fight to the Democrats. However, he said he would still consider running a primary if he is not endorsed because he believes he is the best candidate.

Teachout Forms Exploratory Committee For AG Run

Fordham Law School Professor Zephyr Teachout has formed an exploratory committee with an eye toward running for attorney general, she announced on Twitter Monday morning.

“The next Attorney General of New York should be an independent fighter and a voice for the people, ready to take on corruption and lawlessness at the highest pinnacles of power,” posted on the site. “She must be ready to pursue aggressive litigation against the lawlessness in the Trump administration.”

Teachout had previously signaled she would consider running for the job and had been considered a likely candidate in the wake of Attorney General Eric Schneiderman’s resignation last week amid allegations of domestic violence and drug abuse.

Teachout ran for governor against incumbent Andrew Cuomo in a 2014 primary and again for an open House seat in the 19th district in the Hudson Valley, losing to Rep. John Faso.

She’s working with the gubernatorial campaign of Cynthia Nixon this year.

Teachout, like other likely AG candidates Mike Gianaris, Tish James and Preet Bharara, is not taking part in the legislative appointment process that is scheduled to begin Tuesday with public candidate interviews.

James Won’t Seek Legislative Appointment To AG Post

New York City Public Advocate Tish James on Friday announced she would not seek approval from the state Legislature to serve out the remainder of Eric Schneiderman’s term as attorney general, a move that will likely lead to the interim appointment of Acting Attorney General Barbara Underwood.

“After thoughtful and careful deliberation, I have decided not to participate in the ongoing legislative process regarding the Attorney General’s Office,” she posted on Twitter.

She left the door open, however, to running for the job outright, posting that there is “More to come next week…”

The development likely means Underwood will remain in the post for the time being. Several other potential AG candidates, including former U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara and Sen. Mike Gianaris, announced they would not participate in the legislative process for the appointment.

The Legislature has scheduled public hearings to begin for candidate vetting on Tuesday.

James had been considered the leading candidate for the legislative appointment this week following Schneiderman’s resignation, calling lawmakers to seek their support ahead of the yet-to-be scheduled vote.

But reports that James had locked up the vote had chafed Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie, who had insisted the process for replacing Schendierman would be open and transparent.

At the same time, there was a growing call to keep Underwood in the job. Gov. Andrew Cuomo virtually endorsed her remaining in the job on Friday in an interview on NY1 and editorial boards in the state also backed keeping in her in the job.

Attorney Claims He Knew Of Schneiderman Allegations In 2013, Alerted Trump

A Putnam County attorney claimed in a letter to a federal judge Friday that he had been contacted in 2013 by two women with abuse claims against then-Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, who then through a former New York Post columnist alerted Donald Trump.

The claim made by attorney Peter Gleason is an unusual development in the aftermath of Schneiderman’s resignation as attorney general on Monday, hours after The New Yorker reported four women have accused Schneiderman of domestic violence and abusing prescription drugs.

In the letter, Gleason claims he spoke with two women who had “identical” stories of abuse by Schneiderman, then in his first term as the state attorney general.

He writes that he advised the women to not report the incidents to the Manhattan district attorney’s office citing unspecified political corruption “that was ignored by the office.” Instead, Gleason discussed the matter with Steve Dunleavy, a retired columnist for The New York Post.

Gleason writes that Dunleavy then discussed the claims with Trump himself “as evidenced by a phone call I received from Attorney Michael Cohen.” While speaking with Cohen, Gleason said he shared details about the women’s claims.

At the time, Schneiderman was suing Trump over the claims made by his for-profit college, Trump University. The lawsuit led to a blistering series of tweets through 2013 and 2014 from Trump, who had yet to declare his intentions to run for president, though had publicly mulled a campaign.

“Weiner is gone, Spitzer is gone – next will be lightweight A.G. Eric Schneiderman,” Trump posted in September of the year. “Is he a crook? Wait and see, worse than Spitzer or Weiner.”

Jane Mayer and Ronan Farrow, who shared a byline on the bombshell New Yorker story on Monday, on Twitter posted that their story was not generated by allies of the president.

“Just to be clear: not one source for our story on Schneiderman has any ties to Trump or Michael Cohe,” Mayer posted. “Our sources all are deeply opposed to Trump and deeply disappointed that Schneiderman let them and their Cause down.”

Gianaris Won’t Participate In Legislative Appointment For AG

Sen. Mike Gianaris, a Queens Democrat, said Friday in a statement he would not participate in the legislative vetting process for attorney general.

He left the door open, however, to running for the job later this year.

“I am grateful to the many leaders who are encouraging me to run for Attorney General and intend to give serious consideration to doing so,” he said.

“In the coming days and weeks, I will continue speaking with my supporters and other interested New Yorkers as I decide whether to seek election to the Attorney General’s office this year. This is a critical time in New York and a decision that deserves careful thought. As a result, I will not be participating in the expedited legislative selection process next week.”

Lawmakers on Tuesday will begin the public interview process for potential replacements for disgraced former Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, who resigned Monday amid allegations of domestic violence and drug abuse.

Several potential candidates for AG have also taken themselves out of the running for the legislative appointment, including former U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara.

Acting Attorney General Barbara Underwood is expected to be interviewed by lawmakers and could be appointed as a caretaker for the post until a new AG is elected for a full term.

GOP Looks for New AG Candidates

From the Morning Memo:

Democrats aren’t the only ones exploring their options when it comes to the unexpected vacancy in the state attorney general’s office.

Before the bombshell New Yorker article that felled now-ex AG Eric Schneiderman with stunning speed, state Republicans appeared ready to move forward with New York City lawyer Manny Alicandro, a first-time candidate who was staging a relatively long-shot candidacy against the incumbent.

But with Schneiderman gone, members of the GOP see a rare opportunity in make inroads in this Democrat-dominated state – despite the expected “blue wave” – and they’re not sure Alicandro is up to the task.

Rockland County attorney Thomas Humbach also announced his candidacy about 24 hours after Schneiderman resigned. But like Alicandro, he is relatively unknown by the general electorate. GOP sources said separate factions of the party are pushing two better-known names to enter the race.

One is state Senate Deputy Majority Leader John DeFrancisco, who is not seeking re-election to his current Central New York seat this fall. The Syracuse attorney wanted to run for governor but ultimately pulled out of the race so the party could fall in line behind Dutchess County Executive Marc Molinaro.

However, it appears DeFrancisco, an experienced attorney, isn’t interested in the AG’s job, according to his (rather terse) comments to the Daily News.

A source said the more likely candidate is John Cahill, a longtime Pataki administration official who ran an unsuccessful campaign against Schneiderman in 2014. Cahill garnered a little more than 41 percent of the vote, which many Republicans considered a success against the then-popular incumbent, who was a prodigious fundraiser and favorite among labor unions.

The source said Cahill is a proven fundraiser who has experience and “ran a great race” four years ago, and might have enough support to clear the field if he decides to run again.

Also confirming his interest in the job is Staten Island Sen. Andrew Lanza, though he told the Daily News he’s concerned about the quick turnaround time necessary to mount a statewide campaign – not the easiest task for a Republican in the Democrat-dominated state to begin with. Had this vacancy occurred a year ago, he said, he would have already announced his candidacy.

Maziarz Speaks Out About Schneiderman

From the Morning Memo:

Republican former state Sen. George Maziarz believes the public may finally be seeing now-former Attorney General Eric Schneiderman the way he has for years.

Maziarz, a Niagara Falls Republican, described Schneiderman as a “media darling,” but said he knew the Manhattan Democrat as a man with a violent temper who often used his public office as a vehicle for retribution. He said he was framed as the bad guy when the ex-prosecutor charged him with five felony Election Law violations last year.

Now, with the public narrative turning against his political rival, Maziarz said he believes he might be able to turn around how people view his own case. In the end, the Niagara County GOP powerbroker took a deal, pleading to one misdemeanor.

Schneiderman called it a victory, arguing he had successfully reduced Maziarz’s outsized political influence by wrenching a public admission of misconduct from the former lawmaker.

Not surprisingly, Maziarz saw it differently, arguing the attorney general’s case fell apart because he had no proof any actual wrongdoing and could not demonstrate that the money exchanged had any connection to him.

“When you look at where and started and where it ended, it was very clear that it was just political retribution,” Maziarz said. “He got an admission from me that I wanted to get on with my life and get it over with and move on.”

However, Maziarz said, in looking at the discovery the prosecution provided him, it was clear Schneiderman overlooked “numerous serious violations” committed by others, in exchange for evidence or testimony. He said he plans on releasing that discovery material in the near future.

The former senator implied that there were indeed convictions to be had if Schneiderman had not focused solely on taking down a political opponent and someone who would provide the most headlines.

“When you look at the fact that Eric spent four years and over a million dollars of taxpayer money investigating myself and others and the result was a minor misdemeanor charge, it was clearly political retribution,” Maziarz insisted.

Whether any of those alleged crimes can still be prosecuted, ultimately might be up to whoever becomes the new attorney general, Maziarz said. In the short term, he maintains that he just wants the general public to understand the whole story.