A special committee will investigate Sen. Hiram Monserrate and consider his possible sanctions -- including expulsion -- following his conviction last week for assaulting his girlfriend.
Senate Majority Conference Leader John L. Sampson announced the formation of the committee today. The Committee will be composed of nine members, consisting of five Democrats and four Republicans, and will be chaired by Sen. Eric Schneiderman.
Sen. Monserrate (D-East Elmhurst) was convicted last week of misdemeanor assault against his girlfriend in an incident last December. He faces up to a year in jail. But the senator was acquitted of more serious felony charges that could have automatically cost him his senate seat.
In response, Sen. Monserrate said he "and his attorneys expect to cooperate fully."
"Senator Monserrate respects Conference Leader John Sampson’s and the Democratic Conference decision to review the matter," the statement said.
The special committee, which will have subpoena power, could recommend sanctions including Monserrate's expulsion from the senate.
Monserrate's defense attorney Joseph Tacopina said his client won't resign.
Latino Democratic State Sen. Ruben Diaz came to Monserrate's defense today, saying white lawmakers are racist and unfairly targeting him.
Senate Republican leader Sen. Dean Skelos also questions the fairness of creating a new panel with a majority of Democrats, bypassing the existing Ethics Committee with equal membership.
Majority Conference Members on the new committee include Senators Ruth Hassell-Thompson, Diane Savino, Toby Ann Stavisky, and Andrea Stewart-Cousins. The Minority Conference has agreed to participate in the proceedings and is expected to submit their committee appointees shortly.
Senate leaders in both political parties have been under intense pressure to throw the East Elmhurst senator out of office since his conviction. New State Democratic Party Chairman Jay Jacobs told the New York Post in Monday's edition that Monserrate "absolutely should be ousted if he doesn't resign." Five Democratic senators from around the State had said since Friday that they would vote to expel him.