It looked even worse for Monserrate when what exactly happened on December 19 began to change in the days following the incident. First, it was a jealous rage that caused Monserrate to slash girlfriend Karla Giraldo's eye with a broken glass; then news spread that Monserrate was upset because Giraldo was abusing drugs and he was trying to help; and then it was just an innocent accident, with Monserrate tripping as he climbed into bed with a glass of water.
Last week a judge handed down a misdemeanor (he had been charged with a felony, which carried a jail term of seven years and would have automatically removed him from public office) assault charge in the incident. The case against Monserrate began to fall apart when his girlriend refused to cooperate with police and backed Monserrate's version of events that the whole episode was a terrible accident. The misdemeanor charge could carry a year in jail, but it is unlikely that Monserrate will serve any time behind bars as this is his first offense.
And the lesser charge means that Monserrate can hang on to his State Senate seat, as long as his colleagues don't vote to kick him out, which they have the power to do, although the rules and procedures for taking such steps are shadowy at best.
Monserrate made headlines earlier this year, not for cutting his girlfriend, but because of his rogue vote, crossing party lines with the Bronx's Pedro Espada in a move that threw the state into turmoil. And with the margin between Republican and Democrat state senators razor thin, we can't imagine that the powers that be will actually oust one of their own ranks and risk losing their majority for good.
Although, that doesn't mean everyone wants to see Monserrate stay in office.
The Democratic nominee for public advocate, Councilman Bill de Blasio, and one of his challengers in the primary, Councilman Eric Gioia, have both called for Monserrate to resign. Gioia said in a statement that the “circumstances revealed in the trial...truly shock the conscience.” While de Blasio said, “despite the promise that many once saw in Senator Monserrate, the revelations of his recent trial are too severe to be ignored.”
Promise? In Monserrate? Really?
One thing we can promise is that it's highly unlikely that Monserrate is going to gracefully slink away – even if the Senate leadership removes him from his post - meaning that we can expect some more fireworks up in Albany. Get your popcorn ready!