Today the verdict in the case of New York State Senator, and state-wide embarrassment, Hiram Monserrate is expected to be delivered by Judge Erlbaum at 3:30 this afternoon. Monserrate faces four charges - two felonies and two misdemeanors - stemming from an incident last December in which he slashed his girlfriend's face with broken glass, requiring medical attention.
What would I like to happen? Monserrate catches both felonies, loses his Senate seat, and ends up in the clink. The reality of the situation, in my mind, will probably be different. Now, Judge Erlbaum seems like a guy that doesn't take any crap, and if anyone would convict Monserrate of these felonies, it would be him. But be that as it may, there are two indications that Monserrate will not be convicted of a felony (and thus will not lose his Senate seat). 1) His girlfriend, Karla Giraldo, changed her story (and perjured herself). She told doctors at the hospital that Monserrate had intentionally attacked her, but when questioned by detectives she stated that the whole thing was an accident. In addition to this, she contradicted her grand jury testimony and told the court during trial that she showed up to Monserrate's apartment drunk. Pile this on top of the fact that we are working within a flawed system (the same system that allowed Pedro Espada and Monserrate to hold up the State Senate for weeks) and you have large potential for misfiring here.
The prosecution alleges that Monserrate found a PBA card of a police officer in Giraldo's purse and became enraged and slashed her face. The defense says that Monserrate was bringing water to his girlfriend, tripped, and the glass fell into her face, slashing it. Given the videotape of the whole incident, the former seems a little more plausible than the latter, especially considering Monserrate's guns were taken away from him when he was a cop based on a psych evaluation and he was arrested back in 2001 for trying to run over a two truck operator repossessing his car.
I think the following will happen: Monserrate will be convicted of the two lesser misdemeanors and be acquitted on the felonies. In this way, everybody loses, as Monserrate is "punished" (read: probation and a fine) and we as New Yorkers get to continue to enjoy his presence in the New York State Senate. I guess we'll just have to wait until 3:30. Peace.
Photo - Monserrate and a fake tan/bronzer victim (Gothamist)