Smith on Why Monserrate Doesn’t Need to Resign

ALBANY—Senate Majority Leader Malcolm Smith said this afternoon that the allegation against State Senator Hiram Monserrate is “despicable,” but he does not believe Monserrate should resign.

“As anyone, he still has the presumption of innocence until proven guilty,” Smith just told reporters. “That’s number one. Was the act despicable? No question about it. And we have done two things: he has not gotten his $12,000 lulu, which in any shape or form is an important amount of money for anyone, especially just getting into the majority. And two, I think the fact that he’s now being removed as chair, that’s a tremendous action. And everyone knows if he’s serving as chair in the Senate majority it’s no small deal, and now he’s not doing that. So we will let the court system process take its due process, and when that action finalizes, then we will take more action if necessary.”

There’s also the matter of Smith needing every vote he can to maintain his already slim majority. At the press conference, he was pressed by Jeremy Peters of The New York Times as to why he recently held a fundraiser for Monserrate.

Smith retreated without commenting.