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State Senator Found Not Guilty of Felony Assault on Woman

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What a sleazy looking douche! Mind you the girl friend is clearly an idiot as well.


State Senator Hiram Monserrate, a freshman Democrat and former police officer and city councilman, was found guilty on Thursday of misdemeanor assault, but escaped a felony conviction for slicing his companion’s face during a bitter argument in his Queens apartment on Dec. 19, 2008.

Justice William M. Erlbaum, who tried the case without a jury in State Supreme Court in Queens, found Mr. Monserrate guilty of recklessly causing physical injury to his companion, Karla Giraldo, by dragging her though his lobby after she was cut.

The judge found him not guilty of two felony counts of causing her serious injury, one citing the glass as “a dangerous weapon.” He also acquitted Mr. Monserrate of a misdemeanor charge of intending to cause physical injury to Ms. Giraldo by cutting her with a drinking glass.

Mr. Monserrate, 42, faces up to a year in jail for the misdemeanor conviction, but he had faced up to seven years in prison on each felony count and would have had to surrender his Senate seat, with the prospect of a new Albany stalemate during a state budget crisis. The Senate is now controlled by the Democrats, who have a slim 32-to-30 margin.

Mr. Monserrate, who remains free on $5,000 bail, is to be sentenced on Dec. 4; it is unclear if he can or will remain in office if he is sent to jail.

Mr. Monserrate had chosen a bench trial instead of a jury because of the inflammatory aspects of the domestic violence case, including video from security cameras that showed him roughly pulling Ms. Giraldo through the lobby of his apartment building on the way to the hospital.

In his decision, Justice Erlbaum said, “The state has clearly proven that he did cause injury to Karla Giraldo beyond a reasonable doubt.” He added that the charges relating to her slashed face “were not proven.”

Ms. Giraldo, 30, who took the stand as a reluctant prosecution witness, testified that her injuries had been caused accidentally when Mr. Monserrate tripped while bringing her a glass of water.

“If ever a case cried out for reasonable doubt, this is it,” Mr. Monserrate’s lead lawyer, Joseph Tacopina said during the closing arguments of a 10-day trial that spread over more than three weeks.

He also said, “There were only two people in that apartment, and both say it was an accident.”

Prosecutors charged that Mr. Monserrate, a husky ex-Marine, lashed out with a glass that broke against Ms. Giraldo’s face around her left eye, cutting her to the skull and leaving a lasting scar, in a fight set off after he found another man’s business card in her purse.

The judge questioned Mr. Monserrate’s actions after Ms. Giraldo was cut. Justice Erlbaum noted that despite the fact that Ms. Giraldo was badly bleeding, Mr. Monserrate decided against calling for an ambulance and instead took her to a hospital more than a 30-minute drive away.

Justice Erlbaum said Mr. Monserrate was clearly aware that “the event in Elmhurst would have been hotter than a pistol.”

Under a protection order signed by Justice Erlbaum over Ms. Giraldo’s objection, Mr. Monserrate had to stay away from her, although both say they are still in love. The protection order is still in effect.

Mr. Monserrate had faced two felony counts of intentionally causing serious injury — one citing the glass as “a dangerous instrument” — and two misdemeanor counts of causing injury not described as serious, one with a glass and one by recklessly dragging her away after her injury.

It was a difficult prosecution from the beginning, with no cooperation from Ms. Giraldo, whom the prosecution sought to characterize as the victim.

Scott Kessler, an assistant district attorney, based his assault case largely on emotional statements that doctors and a nurse at Long Island Jewish Medical Center said Ms. Giraldo made to them, incriminating Mr. Monserrate as her attacker. She later denied making the statements.

The case aroused strong interest and emotions. The New York State chapter of the National Organization for Women sent e-mail messages to members urging them to demand that Justice Erlbaum sentence Mr. Monserrate to the maximum — before he ever went on trial.

Refusing to use the spellchick!

I have put you on ignore. No really, I have, but you are still ruining my enjoyment of this site. .

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