In surveillance video played at State Sen. Hiram Monserrate's assault trial, the lawmaker is seen throwing out a business card given to his girlfriend prosecutors say. He also allegedly pulled her away from seeking help at a neighbor's door.
A newly released videotape shows State Sen. Hiram Monserrate pulling his girlfriend away from a neighbor's door after he allegedly slashed her face in a jealous rage, prosecutors said.
There has been much speculation over what the cameras caught in Queens last December -- and the video was made public during Sen. Monserrate's assault trial in Queens today.
Monserrate's girlfriend, Karla Giraldo, 30, initially told officers that an enraged Monserrate broke a glass in his hand, then use the jagged edge to slice her face, prosecutors said.
The argument spilled into the hallway, where surveillance video captured a frightened, bleeding woman in distress ringing the bell of a neighbor, prosecutors said. That's when she was grabbed roughly by Monserrate, and the force caused her to drop a towel pressed to her face, prosecutors said.
The wound required 20 stitches around her left eye.
The video played in court shows five views from different building security cameras at the Queens residence and does show the state senator grabbing Giraldo away from a neighbor's door. The video also shows Monserrate leading Giraldo as they head to the car on their way to the hospital.
After the video was played in court there were audible groans from Monserrate supporters who loudly asked "That's it?," or yelled "C'mon!" One person was asked to leave the court because of the outburst.
Giraldo has since maintained that the whole thing was an accident.
Monserrate has pleaded not guilty to second-degree assault .The case will be decided by Judge William Erlbaum of the state Supreme Court in Queens.
If convicted on the top charge, a felony, Monserrate would lose his senate seat and face seven years in prison.
Monserrate, 42, has vigorously denied the charges, maintaining he tripped holding the glass of water he was bringing to his thirsty, intoxicated girlfriend the night of the incident.
Monserrate’s lead lawyer, Joseph Tacopina, said in his opening remarks that absent a criminal complaint by Giraldo, he wondered “why the prosecution brought this case?"
If he's convicted of a misdemeanor, he could serve out his term, but it's not clear how his image will fare. Douglas Muzzio, a political science professor at Baruch College, said it could be difficult to win female voters.
"But then again, there are any number of Lazaruses in New York City and American politics," Muzzio said.
Monserrate's political spokespeople have called the charges "politically motivated."