Barbara Underwood appointed as NY attorney general

She can drop the word "acting" from her title—Barbara Underwood is officially New York's new attorney general.

The state Legislature chose Underwood, 73, to serve as an interim attorney general until an elected AG is sworn in on January 1, 2019. She told lawmakers that she will not run for election.

She stepped in when Eric Schneiderman abruptly resigned early this month after The New Yorker reported disturbing abuse allegations against him. He denies those accusations.

In a statement, Underwood thanked lawmakers for the "tremendous honor."

"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," she said in the statement. "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."

Underwood had served as the state's solicitor general for more than a decade. She also had a brief stint as the United States solicitor general in 2001.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo commended lawmakers for choosing Underwood.

"She is a brilliant legal mind and an extraordinarily qualified attorney who has argued 20 cases before the Supreme Court," Cuomo said in a statement, "and she will provide strong leadership and important continuity in the office of Attorney General during these challenging times."

Cuomo appointed Nassau County District Attorney Madeleine Singas as a special prosecutor to investigate the allegations against Schneiderman.