A New York Senate committee met Tuesday to decide whether a state senator convicted of assaulting his girlfriend should remain in office, but reached no immediate conclusion.
The special committee adjourned into an executive session without announcing any decision on the fate of Sen. Hiram Monserrate. The panel is expected to make recommendations to the full Senate within the next few weeks after reviewing a draft report on the facts, including whether Monserrate has accepted responsibility for what he did.
The Queens Democrat was sentenced earlier this month to probation for injuring his girlfriend by dragging her through his apartment lobby on Dec. 19, 2008. He could have been jailed for up to a year for misdemeanor assault.
Earlier that evening, Monserrate smashed a glass into Karla Giraldo's face, causing bloody injuries that required 40 stitches. Both testified he cut her by accident, and afterward was trying to get her to a hospital, though security camera footage showed her crying, ringing a neighbor's doorbell and grabbing at a bannister as he dragged her out of the apartment building.
The meeting was the committee's last scheduled before making recommendations, though another could follow. The nine senators and a special counsel have been reviewing trial and grand jury records.
Other committee questions include whether Giraldo's contradictory testimony was credible, whether Monserrate was trying to get her prompt medical care or belatedly took her to a more distant hospital to cover up the incident, and whether his conduct makes him fit to serve in the Senate.
Sen. Andrew Lanza, a Republican member of the committee, said the process has been bipartisan and fair.
"There was no predetermined outcome here," Lanza said at a brief news conference before entering into executive session. "The process has been very open and continues."
Sen. Eric Schneiderman, a Democrat who chairs the committee, said there is no firm date on when a draft report will be finalized.
He said members of the committee are still assessing the evidence, and that there have been "no conclusions" on what happened the night Monserrate is accused of injuring his girlfriend.
Monserrate did not attend. A telephone message left with his lawyer wasn't immediately returned.
Monserrate, 42, was sworn in as a state senator weeks after the incident. A former Marine and New York City police officer, he was elected in 2001 to the New York City Council.
Including Monserrate, the Democrats hold a 32-30 Senate majority. Earlier this year, Monserrate and Sen. Pedro Espada briefly joined Republicans in a coalition that led to gridlock in the chamber for more than a month.
The committee is made up of five Democrats, including Schneiderman, who represents part of Manhattan and the Bronx. Others are Sens. Ruth Hassell-Thompson of the Bronx, Diane Savino of Staten Island, Toby Ann Stavisky of Queens and Andrea Stewart-Cousins of Yonkers.
Besides Lanza of Staten Island, Republican members of the committee include John Flanagan of Long Island, James Alesi of Monroe County and Catharine Young of Jamestown.
Associated Press writer Michael Virtanen in Albany contributed to this report.