Senate committee recommends punishment for Monserrate
No matter what the state senate decides, Hiram Monserrate will not go without a fight.
A senate committee recommended Thursday that the embattled Queens Democrat, convicted in October of domestic violence, either be expelled from the legislature or stripped of his privileges, condemning him in harsh language.
Monserrate, 42, said he would not leave the senate and his attorney vowed to fight an expulsion in court.
“The people of this district, and only them, they are my bosses," Monserrate said during a news conference Thursday at his East Elmhurst office. “I will fight to the end to defend their rights and to ensure the voters in my district are not disenfranchised.”
In its 53-page report, the nine-member committee said Monserrate’s “misconduct damages the integrity and reputation of the New York State Senate and demonstrates a lack of fitness to serve in the body.”
It then calls on the leadership to present two resolutions: One booting him from the chamber and the other taking away his seniority, stipend and committee chairmanships.
A spokesman for Sen. John Sampson (D-Brooklyn), the Democratic leader, said he plans to “review the findings” of the committee before commenting.
Any sanction against Monserrte must come by vote of the full senate, which Democrats control 32-30.
Monserrate, who was acquitted of a felony charge but convicted of a misdemeanor in the slashing of his girlfriend, Karla Giraldo, on Dec. 19, 2008, did not cooperate with the inquiry and the report said he had not taken responsibility for what happened.
Prosecutors said Giraldo changed her story, initially telling hospital workers she was attacked and later saying it was an accident.
The committee, citing trial testimony and surveillance video from Monserrate’s apartment that night, said Giraldo’s story “lacks credibility.”
The report also took issue with the fact that an attorney who works for a committee Monserrate chairs drafted Giraldo’s statement after the incident and his spokesman notarized it.
Several prominent Democrats, including the state party chair, Jay Jacobs, called for Monserrate to resign.
“He owes the public a higher standard,” said Jacobs.
Susan Ossorio, the president of the city chapter of the National Organization for Women, urged the senate to kick him out.
“We haven’t heard from any women who are looking for leniency,” said Ossorio.
The AP contributed to this story.