New York State Senator Faces Expulsion, or Not. Plays Clay Davis in Defense.
In an October issue of the paper, features editor Marisa Carroll wrote about New York State Senator Hiram Monserrate’s brutal assault of his girlfriend, Karla Giraldo. Last December, Giraldo was slashed in the face with a broken glass leaving a wound that required 20 stitches. Afterward, security cameras in Monserrate’s apartment caught the Senator dragging Giraldo down a flight of stairs, forcing her out the door and into a car that sped off to the Long Island Jewish Medical Center. It was a highly publicized and sobering case of domestic abuse, one surely to get the Democrat Senator expelled from the senate and politics altogether.
However, as discussed in Carroll’s article, felony charges raised again Monserrate were dropped, allowing the Senator to avoid a seven year prison sentence and remain in office. The defense claimed Monserrate tripped, accidentally slashing Giraldo as he fell. It was dark, said defense lawyer Joseph Tacopina, adding “you don’t commit domestic abuse in a pitch black room.” Unfortunately, Giraldo, now Monserrate’s fiancé, also defended Monserrate, supporting the accident claim. The Senator was left with a misdemeanor charge for the violence caught on the building’s security cameras, and a lifetime of having to feign guilt over the matter. His sentence: three years of probation, required community service, and a $1000 fine.
And kids still go to prison in New Orleans for carrying a gram of weed.
Whether or not he will be expelled from the Senate, however, depends on an upcoming decision from Albany, which was expected to be announced sometime today (Tuesday, Feb. 9), but no news has surfaced (though security at the State Senate has been beefed up in anticipation of resulting protests.)
The depravity of this story unfortunately has did not stop with the slap-on-the-wrist sanctions raised against Monserrate. A band of New York Democrats have been supporting Monserrate, claiming his “harsh treatment” is directly linked to the Senator’s Puerto Rican heritage (Monserrate agrees). Most outspoken has been Senator Ruben Diaz Sr., father of Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. (who, despite his old and out of touch father, seems like a pretty nice guy and a good borough president). In an interview with Daily News reporter Elizabeth Benjamin, Diaz said “”I think none of these liberal white guys could be fair; they’re all out to get Monserrate,” and then, “”…All the white people, all the legislators, are asking for the head of the Puerto Rican. That’s what they want to do.”
Is there an uglier safety net to fall back on? To raise allegations that a committee investigating the case of domestic abuse is driven by racial prejudice is absurd, especially considering the grisly details of the ordeal. Diaz later cemented himself as a wholly disagreeable person by claiming Monserrate was “doing good by forcing his girlfriend to go to a hospital for treatment.” Un-fuggin-believable.
The situation got even weirder when, on January 24, during a rally for Monserrate, the Senator compared himself to murdered civil rights workers. “Students from the college that I went to died to help African-Americans have the right to vote,” said Monserrate, “Today, the Senate would seek to push back the clock and discredit the major movement that occurred here in the United States to protect the rights of all Americans” (last summer he compared himself to Jesus Christ). Insane? Completely irrelevant? Disgusting? If any of these thoughts passed through your mind after reading that last quote then congratulations: you’re a sane person.
The rally (video below) was attended by Broxites Ruben Diaz Sr., Jose Rivera and Peter Rivera (no relation). Monserrate, who represents Queens, received no support from the borough. A handful of old ladies carried signs that read “People’s Choice” and stood around Monserrate, conveniently in front of flashing news cameras chanted “queríamos se va.” It’s sad, but this late in the game, the race card is just about the only thing Monserrate has to distract from his domestic abuse. And he’s geared up, too. Last month, he announced that civil rights attorneys Norman Siegal and Steve Hyman would be taking his case.
Some criticism is surfacing over the fact that Monserrate faces expulsion from the senate for being guilty of a misdemeanor. A felony would’ve forced the Senator out immediately, but a misdemeanor is not the grounds for immediate expulsion. The Senator was, after all, found guilty only of the violence committed within his building’s lobby. True, it is easy to cover up a horrible deed with legalese, but proponents of this argument should remember that Monserrate stabbed a woman in the face.
Yesterday, Senator Pedro Espada introduced a bill that would automatically expel lawmakers for misdemeanors.
A final decision concerning the Senator’s fate was expected sometime today, but as of 6:00pm, no word yet. The blizzard New York is expecting tonight and tomorrow is sure to further development. the paper will try its best to keep y’all updated, though we’re sure every major news source in the country is sure to cover it and the ensuing clusterfuck.
Monserrate got his but tossed out of the Senate. Also, Patterson, who himself may be up for expulsion and has openly admitted to infidelity, vetoed the bill introduced by Sen. Espada.
The rally attended by Monserrate and Ruben Diaz Sr.:
Sen. Clay Davis’ (of “The Wire”) similar method of ass covering: