The girlfriend of Sen. Hiram Monserrate loves him and still wants to be with him, despite his conviction last week on charges he assaulted her.
Karla Giraldo, who testified that Monserrate accidentally cut her face with a glass, forcing her to get 20 stitches around her left eye, told the Daily News she will ask a judge to lift the order of protection that has kept the two of them separate since December.
"I love him. We love each other and we want to be together again," Giraldo, 30, told the News. "I want to go back to the simple things we did as a couple before all this happened - decorating his apartment, going out shopping, or just sitting at home together."
The Queens politician was found not guilty of two felony charges of assault and one other misdemeanor charge stemming from the December incident that left his girlfriend with 20 stitches to her face following a night of drinking and arguing. A conviction on those charges would have effectively ended his senate career.
"I've always said this was an accident," Giraldo told the News. "I never asked for an order of protection. Now that the case is over, what is the reason for keeping us separated? "I feel that the justice system has been unjust to me."
Monserrate faced up to seven years in prison if convicted of a felony in a dramatic trial that included blockbuster surveillance video, heated exchanges between witnesses and lawyers, and Monserrate's girlfriend breaking down on the stand in the midst of her defense of the man who authorities say slashed her face in fit of rage.
Monserrate, a former NYPD cop and City Councilman, pleaded not guilty, saying the incident at his Queens apartment that left Giraldo in need of at least 20 stitches was an accident. Monserrate's version is that he merely tripped when bringing his girlfriend a glass of water in a dark room and that the glass broke and struck her in the face.
The problem for prosecutors was that girlfriend Giraldo said it was an accident too. And despite apartment surveillance video that showed an agitated Monserrate leading Giraldo forcefully out of their Jackson Heights, Queens building and neighbors who described a night of fighting between the couple, only Monserrate and Giraldo were behind the closed doors where and when her pretty face was gashed.
Lead prosecutor Scott Kessler said Giraldo changed her story only after she learned he was going to be arrested.
In an interview with the News, Giraldo denied that she ever changed her story.
"That nurse and doctor didn't even treat me," she said of the healthcare professionals who testified at Monserrate's trial. "We could barely understand each other. It was two other male doctors who gave me the stitches."
"Hiram has never hit me or mistreated me in the year we were together before this," she added.
Apparently the two still want to get married. Monserrate plans to pop the question once the order of protection is lifted, according to The New York Post.
"The wedding is going to happen. Hiram loves Karla," Sen. Ruben Diaz, who is also a reverend and says he'll officiate at the ceremony, told the paper.