ALBANY—Embattled Councilman and State Senator-elect Hiram Monserrate said charges he assaulted his girlfriend are "offensive, and they are crushing on a personal level" and said he looks "forward to continuing my role as the new representative of this community in the New York State Senate."
Monserrate was arraigned on charges including felony assault (the charge was lodged in the second-degree, not in the first-degree as we originally were told) and released Friday night on $5,000 bail.
Monserrate has hired James Cullen to represent him, Liz reports. If he is convicted of the felony charge, he cannot serve in the State Senate, where another Queens Democrat, State Senator Malcolm Smith, is counting on Moserrate’s support to be the chamber's majority leader.
Here is the full text of a statement Monserrate released:
As the result of an unfortunate accident involving myself and someone whom I care for deeply and love, I have been charged with offenses that I did not commit and am not capable of committing. As a son, a brother and a father, these accusations are offensive, and they are crushing on a personal level. Nonetheless I whole-heartedly look forward to all of the facts being brought to light during this legal process.
I have dedicated my life to keeping people safe. I stand with the many elected officials who have expressed their condemnation of domestic violence and I fully support, and have even enforced, laws meant to take any appearance of domestic violence seriously. As a police officer for 12 years, I worked to put men who abused women in jail. As a member of the City Council, I have an extensive record of supporting programs that help women to overcome domestic violence.
While I cannot comment more at this time regarding how this accident occurred because I am now in the midst of the legal process, I would like to reiterate to my constituents and community that I have absolutely nothing to hide and all facts will become known at the appropriate time. In the meantime, I understand everyone's concerns regarding these allegations and will answer any and all questions that I can without hindering the legal case.
I want to be very clear that this occurrence was a terribly unfortunate accident. Despite Karla's initial reticence and reluctance to go to the hospital, my sole concern was to provide her with immediate medical attention. In her distress, she insisted that she would not go to Elmhurst Hospital. I took her to Long Island Jewish Hospital in Queens because my family has received excellent medical care there in the past. I got Karla to the hospital as quickly as possible and I stayed by her side as she was treated. I also contacted her family, who expressed their confidence that I was caring for her appropriately and looking out for her wellbeing.
In addition, I would like to caution those who might be tempted to rush to judgment on press reports that are inaccurate and based upon speculation and misinformation. Such conclusions will be found ultimately to be grossly erroneous and unjust. Further, I have serious concerns about the manner in which this case has been handled.
In the meantime, I would like to thank everyone for the outpouring of love and support I have received during this difficult time, and look forward to continuing my role as the new representative of this community in the New York State Senate.