State Sen. Hiram Monserrate was found guilty of misdemeanor assault, but he was acquitted of more serious felony assault charges after being accused of slashing his girlfriend's face during a Dec. 9 dispute. In a bench trial, Monserrate was found guilty of "recklessly causing physical injury to his companion, Karla Giraldo, by dragging her though his lobby after she was cut," the New York Times reports. If he had been found guilty of the felony charges — which each carried up to seven years in prison — he would have been forced to step down from his Senate seat.
Justice William M. Erlbaum found the 42-year-old former police officer and Marine not guilty of two felony counts of causing Giraldo serious injury, one citing the glass as “a dangerous weapon," and he acquitted the embattled Dem of a misdemeanor charge of intending to cause physical injury to Giraldo when he cut her with a drinking glass.
With the misdemeanor conviction, Monserrate could face up to one year in jail — making his Senate future uncertain. According to Politicker , "there is no standard of conduct (relating to these kinds of offenses) for a senator codified anywhere — not in the Senate rules, not in the Public Officers law, not in the Legislative Law." But a clause in the Legislative Law gives the senate the "power to expel any of its members, after the report of a committee to inquire into the charges against him shall have been made."
Monserrate, who is free on $5,000 bail, will be sentenced on Dec. 4.