Monserrate Planning Court Fight to Keep Senate Seat: Report

Committee recommended expulsion or censure of senator convicted of assault

By Jennifer Millman
|  Wednesday, Jan 13, 2010  |  Updated 9:24 AM EDT
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No Jail Time for State Senator  Monserrate

AP

Monserrate has no intention of being hung out to dry.

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No Jail Time for State Senator Monserrate

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Beleaguered Sen. Hiram Monserrate has no intention of waiting around for a vote to expel him from the Senate, which could come tomorrow. Instead, he plans to make a preemptive move and ward it off with a federal court challenge, according to a published report.

The Queens pol, who was convicted last year of misdemeanor assault of his girlfriend Karla Giraldo, will file an injunction on the heels of the release of a special Senate panel's report making recommendations on his fate, reports the Daily News. A felony conviction would've automatically cost him his job.

On Tuesday, legislative sources indicated the committee would recommend lawmakers sanction the embattled senator. Those sanctions could include censure or expulsion from the Senate. The report is expected to be released as early as Thursday.

Monserrate's lawyer, Joseph Tacopina, has said the Senate doesn't have the legal authority to kick him out.

"This report will not bar him from entering the chamber," Tacopina told the News

It's up to Senate Democratic leader John Sampson to decide whether either vote comes to the floor, but some legislators think that if a resolution for expulsion comes to the table, Monserrate would end up unemployed.

"If the motion to expel him goes to the floor, I think it passes," one lawmaker familiar with the report told the News

If expelled, Monserrate would be the first member of the state legislature to be removed in nearly a century.

Monserrate said he wouldn't give up his job even if the Senate votes for his ouster.

"I'm working here,'' he said, noting he would be voting and chairing a meeting of the Consumer Protection Committee.

Monserrate supporters also note that the assault happened before the former New York City policeman and councilman joined the state Senate.

A draft of the committee report in late December cited a section of the legislative law and maintained the Senate does have the authority to remove one of its own. Critics say that's the voters' prerogative.

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