During day two of State Senator Hiram Monserrate’s assault trial, the much anticipated surveillance video of the night of the alleged assault that caused Karla Giraldo to receive 20 stitches was shown for the first time publically.
The contents of the tape, which were shown in court on Tuesday, September 22, were rumored to contain scenes of Monserrate, 42, dragging Giraldo, 30, down stairs and frantically knocking on a neighbor’s door.
But, although the blood dripped down the left side of Giraldo’s face, which she covered with a towel, she carefully and swiftly walked out of Monserrate’s apartment by herself, walked down the stairs by herself and reached Monserrate’s downstairs neighbor’s door before Monserrate’s first initial contact – where he forcibly pulled her away from the door and forcibly took her out the building door.
“Much has been made about this video tape. I’ve read stories how it shows horrific acts of violence on behalf of Senator Monserrate, how he was kicking her, pulling her, assaulting her,” Joseph Tacopina, Monserrate’s defense attorney, told reporters outside of the courtroom during the lunch recess. “Clearly anyone looking at her objectively would see that he did none of the sort.”
Before the airing of the video, Assistant District Attorney Scott Kessler called three witnesses to lay the foundation for the video, two New York Police Department (NYPD) detectives and a NYPD member of the Technical Assistance Response Unit, the officer responsible for extracting the video from the building’s computer hard drives.
Gerard Kranz, a night watch detective, said that he looked at video and decided what portions would be extracted and videotaped, and in testimony before the court said that he did not keep the image of Karla Giraldo and another woman, presumably her cousin Jasmina Rojas, entering the building where she and Monserrate lived. The defense seemed to jump on this point because they said that Rojas escorted Giraldo because she had been drunk
Tacopina said that the defense has not made a determination whether Giraldo would testify in the trial but that she will be in the courtroom at one point or another.
Monserrate’s trial began on Monday, September 21 when Justice William Erlbaum – who will decide the case after Monserrate opted for a bench trial – heard opening arguments from the prosecution and defense, who presented two very different stories.
The prosecution attempted to paint an image of Monserrate as an enraged man who, after finding another man’s 2007 Police Benevolence Association (PBA) card in Giraldo’s possession, wanted to exert power and control over Giraldo by striking her in the face with a glass.
Meanwhile, the defense argued that Giraldo came home drunk and Monserrate was coming in to bring her a glass of water in a small pitch black room, when Monserrate stumbled, splashing the water on Giraldo. She became startled, jerked upward and collided with the glass in Monserrate’s hand.
Monserrate could face seven years in jail if convicted and lose his position in the State Senate.