The New York Senate committee that investigated Sen. Hiram Monserrate after his misdemeanor assault conviction recommended today that the full Senate should vote to expel or censure him “as soon as reasonably possible.”
In a report today, the committee faulted the Queens Democrat for failing to cooperate or appear at its hearings and for showing little remorse in recent press interviews about what a judge concluded was a domestic incident.
Monserrate was convicted of dragging his girlfriend Karla Giraldo but acquitted of a felony. A felony conviction would have automatically cost the Queens Democrat his job. Giraldo’s face was slashed by broken glass during what both later called an accident.
The report states Monserrate’s behavior “showed a reckless disregard” for the woman’s well-being and “and for the severity of her injury.”
“Senator Monserrate’s misconduct damages the integrity and the reputation of the New York state Senate and demonstrates a lack of fitness to serve in this body,” the report concluded.
Monserrate has said he won’t give up his job even if expelled. His attorney, Joseph Tacopina, says the Senate has no authority to expel him under the state constitution, an issue disputed by other senators.
Sen. Catharine Young, a Republican from western New York who served on the special committee, urged Senate Democratic leader John Sampson to hold an expulsion vote when the Senate returns to session Tuesday.
“Our select committee has conducted a thorough, deliberative review and the conclusion is clear,” Young said. “Domestic violence cannot be tolerated, and it is reprehensible that Senator Monserrate refused to cooperate with the committee. He needs to go.”
Monserrate last year temporarily joined with Republicans to stage an overthrow in the chamber. Democrats have a 32-30 majority and Sampson controls the flow of measures to the floor.
Monserrate supporters say Democratic support for his ouster is payback, and also note that the incident happened before the former New York City policeman and councilman joined the state Senate.
The committee report cites a section of the legislative law and maintained the Senate does have the authority to remove one of its own.
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