Thursday, October 15, 2009

Judge Finds Monserrate Not Guilty Of Felony Assault - NY1

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A judge today found State Senator Hiram Monserrate not guilty on two counts of felony assault in connection with an incident last year where his girlfriend was injured.

However, the Queens lawmaker was found guilty of a lesser reckless endangerment charge, also a misdemeanor, for causing injury to his girlfriend, Karla Giraldo, by forcibly dragging her by her arm.

He could face up to one year in jail for the charge, but will not be forced to give up his State Senate seat.

The order of protection against Monserrate was extended.

Monserrate was accused of slashing Giraldo in the face with a broken glass.

Earlier this week, hospital employees testified his girlfriend told them Monserrate attacked her. But both Monserrate and Giraldo say she was cut accidentally when the lawmaker tripped while bringing her a glass of water.

Prosecutors argued that Giraldo changed her story after she discovered the lawmaker was going to be arrested.

In a released statement, Senate Majority Leader John Sampson said, "Accusations against public officials are of the utmost concern to everyone in a just and civil society and I take them very seriously. A court of law has now ruled and we respect the decision rendered by the justice system. The leaders of our conference are discussing the potential for further disciplinary action by the Senate and will comment further once a determination has been reached. There is no doubt that this has been a troubling situation for all those involved, but the Senate will continue to move forward and fulfill its duty. New York faces many challenges in the coming months – we will meet those challenges head on and continue to serve the best interests of the people of New York.”

Monserrate's sentencing is set for December 4.