Step Down Now
State Senator Hiram Monserrate is having his day in court. He is charged with three counts of felony assault and three counts of misdemeanor assault, all of which could send the politician to jail for up to seven years.
On December 19, 2008, he was arrested on charges that he slashed the face of his girlfriend, Karla Giraldo, with a broken water glass during an argument in his Jackson Heights apartment.
He is maintaining his innocence, claiming it was an accident. A judge at the time did not think so after Giraldo, 29, told staffers at Long Island Jewish Medical Center that Monserrate, 41, cut her in a fight. That judge placed the couple under a full order of protection to stay apart. So much for the accident defense.
Surveillance footage from the hallway in Monserrate’s building was shown to Supreme Court Justice William Erlbaum. The six-minute video, prosecutors say, shows Monserrate yanking a bleeding Giraldo in the stairway of his building.
Monserrate then took his bleeding, distraught girlfriend, who had been heard screaming for help and banging on neighbors’ doors, to a hospital over the Queens County line and far from the closest emergency room. So much for the accident defense.
In court on Friday, March 27, while Judge Erlbaum was viewing the tape, and her lawyer was in the bathroom, Giraldo managed to plant a kiss on Monserrate in court. When Erlbaum returned he refused to drop the order of protection and ordered Monserrate to stay away from Giraldo.
Her reason for the smooch she said in Spanish to her lawyer, “It has been a long time.” Apparently time does heal all wounds. Battered women often forgive their abusers and enable them to strike again. This couple needs to undergo serious counseling – separately.
We think Monserrate should step down from the Senate while working out his criminal case.