Monserrate Trial Set To Begin On Monday
By Joseph Orovic
Embattled State Sen. Hiram Monserrate (D-Corona) will have his day in court on Sept. 14, facing second- and third-degree assault and criminal possession of a weapon charges.
The accusations stem from Monserrate’s Dec. 19 arrest for allegedly slashing his girlfriend, Karla Giraldo, across the face with shards of broken glass at his Jackson Heights home.
The criminal complaint alleges that Monserrate struck Giraldo after breaking a glass in his hand, causing a laceration around her left eye that required 20-stitches to close. But Giraldo later withdrew her statement and urged prosecutors to drop the charges.
Monserrate has resolutely denied wrongdoing, claiming that Giraldo was injured after he tripped into her while holding a glass of water in his hand.
“As the result of an unfortunate accident involving myself and someone whom I care for deeply and love, I have been charged with offenses that I did not commit and am not capable of committing,” he said in a statement. “As a son, a brother and a father, these accusations are offensive, and they are crushing on a personal level. Nonetheless, I whole-heartedly look forward to all of the facts being brought to light during this legal process.”
Footage taken by a security camera was submitted for the trial, reportedly showing Monserrate yank Giraldo away from a hallway banister as she held a towel to her face. He is also allegedly seen throwing down a garbage chute what cops said was a PBA card Giraldo received from another man.
His defense argued the video was presented to a Grand Jury in a misleading way, but Queens Judge William M. Erlbaum ruled against the objections.
The case drew the ire of domestic-violence advocacy groups as well as Monserrate’s political opponents. He agreed to temporarily step down as Chair of the Senate’s Consumer Affairs Committee, also being denied a $12,500 stipend that came with the position. Following the coup in the Senate, and Monserrate coming back to the Democratic fold, he regained his committee leadership role and his stipend.
If convicted, he faces up to seven years in prison and expulsion from the Senate.
Reach Reporter Joseph Orovic at firstname.lastname@example.org, or (718) 357-7400, Ext. 127.