Hiram Monserrate Trial: Defense Rests

The defense has rested in the trial to the court of New York state senator Hiram Monserrate, charged with assaulting his girlfriend with a broken glass, causing her to get 20 facial stitches. Monserrate, as is his right, did not testify. (Background on case here and here, on waiving jury here.)

The Judge threw out two charges after the prosecution rested. [More..]

The judge in the trial also dismissed two of the six charges against Monserrate which alleged that he acted recklessly in handling the glass in his apartment. The judge said the prosecution was clearly accusing him of intentionally attacking Giraldo and that the dismissed charges were incompatible with their case.

The defense then put on two witnesses who corroborated the girlfriend's testimony that she was drunk that night.

The defense claims the Dec. 19 slashing was an accident, with a drunken Giraldo suffering a gash when Monserrate tripped while bringing her a glass of water.

Prosecutors charged an enraged Monserrate slashed her with a jagged glass after finding another man's phone number inside her purse.

The girlfriend testifed it as an accident. The defense also introduced past medical records of Monserrate, showing he had received medical services at the same hospital he took his girlfriend to for treatment. The records were an attempt to rebut the prosecution's argument that there were hospitals closer to him that could have treated her, suggesting he had some nefarious reason for choosing it.

The judge will now decide whether the state has proven Monserrate is guilty of two misdemeanor and two felony assault counts.

Will "Legal Houdini" (and my pal)Joe Tacopina convince the Judge the state failed to prove Monserrate acted intentionally or recklessly, as required by the remaining counts? I'm rooting for Joe. From the media's trial recaps (which admittedly aren't the best source) it seems he's got a strong case on the accident theory, but perhaps an uphill battle on the charge of reckless manhandling outside the apartment, if only because the Judge said of the video in pre-trial proceedings:

It has the great potential for prejudice. A picture is indeed worth a thousand words ... it causes the blood to boil."

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    I'm Still Not Buying It (5.00 / 1) (#1)
    by Randinho on Thu Oct 08, 2009 at 09:09:08 PM EST
    Regardless of whether Monserrate had been treated at LIJH before, I can't see why that's relevant. I was treated at Lenox Hill and I work in lower Manhattan. A colleague of mine and I were out to lunch one day and she started feeling very ill. We went to Beekman Downtown Hospital.

    It also doesn't bode well for his political career if he's acquitted. He was a city councilman before he became a state senator in the same neighborhood, yet he didn't want to take his bleeding girlfriend to the hospital in his community.

    Not exactly a vote of confidence in addressing his constituents' needs . . .

    Full disclosure: I live about three blocks away from Monserrate.

    Assume defense had already waived jury (none / 0) (#2)
    by oculus on Thu Oct 08, 2009 at 10:02:26 PM EST
    before the judge made the "makes the blood boil" statement?

    no, it was after (none / 0) (#3)
    by Jeralyn on Thu Oct 08, 2009 at 10:10:04 PM EST
    check my background posts, it explains it.

    I don't think he has a strong case on the (none / 0) (#4)
    by tigercourse on Fri Oct 09, 2009 at 01:12:27 AM EST
    accident theory. It's pretty hard to imagine from his description how he accidentally broke the glass and then accidentally slashed her with it. That said, I'd have a hard time as a juror convicting him because of the girlfriend's new story.