Letitia James, Sean Patrick Maloney, Zephyr Teachout: New York Attorney General Candidates

James: Anthony Behar/Sipa USA; Maloney: Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY NETWORK; Teachout: Peter Haskell/WCBS 880

Democratic New York Attorney General Candidates Gather For NYC Forum

August 14, 2018 - 2:41 pm

NEW YORK (WCBS 880) -- The Democratic candidates for New York state Attorney General gathered at at WeWork Bryant Park Tuesday for a forum presented by Tech:NYC.

Journalist Mike Allen of Axios was the moderator the forum, which was to involve four candidates for the office – New York City Public Advocate Letitia James, Fordham University Law Professor and activist Zephyr Teachout, U.S. Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney (D-New York), and Leecia Eve – a lobbyist and former aide to Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Hillary Clinton.

Acting Attorney General Barbara Underwood is not running to be elected to the seat. Her predecessor, Eric Schneiderman, resigned from office within hours of the release of a New Yorker article in which four women he dated or met romantically accused him of nonconsensual physical violence.

The New York attorney general’s office is often a stepping stone to the governor’s office – as it was for both Cuomo and former Gov. Eliot Spitzer. But speaking to WCBS 880’s Steve Scott, Allen noted that much of the attention in the Democratic attorney general contest now involves resisting President Donald Trump’s agenda.

“I was so excited at the honor of moderating this debate, because I said: ‘Finally, we’re getting away from Trump. We can talk about something else.’ And so I Googled the Democratic New York attorney general’s race, and what’s the first story I saw from the Atlantic? ‘The Trump-Centric Attorney General’s Race in New York!’ And I said, ‘No!’ And then I looked at the Wall Street Journal, and it said Zephyr Teachout, one of the top candidates, has Trump on her mind,” Allen said. “So you can’t escape him.”

But it is because of Trump that the New York attorney general race is important nationally, Allen said.

“This is a way for people in the most important state, and one of the most muscular states, to confront him both in his own hometown, and to have some legal backstop. So part of the Mueller case has already spilled over into New York,” Allen said. “There’s a possibility of more, so the way the Atlantic put it is that this is a chance to take on the president in the seat of his business empire.”

The focus for the forum on Tuesday evening was to be tech issues – of which there are many affecting New York right now.

“I’m going to be asking them about antitrust. I’m going to be asking them about ridesharing – white hot in New York right now, and I’m going to be asking them about a fascinating issue that just burst on the national scene…. I didn’t even know about this issue a month ago, and that is 3D-printed guns,” Allen said.

Allen noted that an Axios-SurveyMonkey survey showed eight in 10 Americans do not like the idea of 3D-printed guns, and the opposition is bipartisan.

The event began 6:30 p.m. and was to be streamed live on the WeWork Twitter feed.