Hiram Monserrate will find out if he's headed to the big house and out of a job when a judge issues his verdict in the state senator's domestic abuse trial today.
Judge William Erlbaum is expected to deliver the verdict this afternoon at the trial of the Queens Democrat. Monserrate, 42, faces up to seven years in prison and the loss of his Senate seat if convicted of slashing girlfriend Karla Giraldo's face with glass last December.
The wound around her left eye, suffered last December, required between 20 and 40 stitches. He says it was an accident and so does she.
Prosecutors believe Giraldo changed her story when she discovered Monserrate was going to be arrested.
In closing arguments yesterday, a defense attorney spent three hours trying to convince Erlbaum that Monserrate should be acquitted. Lawyer Joe Tacopina argued that Monserrate risked his reputation to take care of his injured girlfriend. Monserrate took Giraldo, bleeding and hysterical, to a hospital and stayed there with her as she received treatment, though people recognized him and made assumptions about what had happened, Tacopina said.
"They didn't go see a fixer," Tacopina said in his closing arguments. "He didn't call for one of his aides. ... If he were not 'Senator' Monserrate, would these actions even be questioned?"
After his arrest on second-degree assault charges for allegedly slicing Giraldo's face with glass during a jealousy-fueled argument, he tried to comfort Giraldo, telling her in soothing tones to go back to her hospital bed.
"That is not the action of an abuser," Tacopina said.
Not true, claimed Assistant District Attorney Scott Kessler, who spent almost as much time attempting to derail Tacopina's defense. The closing arguments took about six hours all together, which leads legal experts to believe the case is too close to call, according to the Daily News.
"It indicates to me that neither side is entirely secure in their position and they felt they had to wrap up their arguments and put a bow tie on them," defense lawyer Arthur Aidala told the paper. "They're each trying to give the judge a first draft of what his decision should be. I don't think either one of them has an open-and-shut case."