Monserrate: I'm Here to Stay

By Tim Minton
|  Thursday, Jan 14, 2010  |  Updated 7:40 PM EDT
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Prosecutors Release Monserrate Trial Video

State Senator Hiram Monserrate

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Hiram Monserrate Says Voters Must Decide Fate

The embattled State Senator said he will not listen to his colleagues -- only to the people of his district.

Prosecutors Release Monserrate Trial Video

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.
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Embattled New York State Senator Hiram Monserrate has a message for his colleagues: they're stuck with him.

Hours after a special committee released a 55-page report that concluded Monserrate is unfit to serve, the defiant senator said the voters hired him and only they can fire him. 

"I answer to my constituents," said Monserrate, "and it is because of them that I will ensure and I will fight tirelessly to defend their rights and never allow for their votes and their actions to be disenfranchised."

He vowed that he would not leave until he is voted out.

"I will ensure that the voters of this community in these next elections will be those who determine who shall represent them and who shall not," said the Senator. "And their decision is the one that ultimately will decide my fate. Not a committee, not politicians, nothing else but the voters in my community."

That defiance was accompanied by a statement from Monserrate's attorney that said if the senate votes to expel the Queens senator, the confrontation will move to the courts. Which is ironic because it's Monserrate's conviction last fall for misdemeanor assault of his girlfriend that landed him in career roulette in the first place.

A round trip to the courts might not be helpful for Sen. Monserrate's image back in East Elmhurst, Corona and Jackson Heights, the neighborhoods in his district where voters will pass ultimate judgment in November. Even if Monserrate is successfully expelled, he's vowed to run again.
 
First, however, the full senate has to vote on whether to expel or just "censure" Monserrate -- the committee offered a multiple choice recommendation. Suffolk County Senator Brian Foley says he'll propose expulsion when the senate reconvenes next week. 
 
Despite claims to the contrary by Monserrate's defense team, "the senate has the authority to expel him," said State Attorney General Andrew Cuomo. The National Organization for Women also jumped into the press release queue, urging that the senator  -- who was caught on video dragging his injured and bleeding girlfriend through a building -- should be thrown out of office.

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