State Sen. Hiram Monserrate’s (D−East Elmhurst) legal team again went on the offensive Friday as the former city councilman fought allegations that he slashed his girlfriend’s face with a broken glass during a fight in December, contending the prosecutor fabricated accounts that the incident was an attack.
In a letter to Queens District Attorney Richard Brown, Attorney Irving Seidman accused Assistant District Attorney Scott Kessler of saying Monserrate stabbed his girlfriend in the face when no court documents used similar language. He produced a copy of the medical report from North Shore−Long Island Jewish Hospital from the night Karla Giraldo, Monserrate’s girlfriend, was taken there.
“Lateral canthus laceration 4−5 centimeters sustained during altercation with boyfriend,” the handwritten report reads. “On arrival, patient states she was struck by broken glass.”
Kessler said in Queens Criminal Court Jan. 16 that Giraldo had recanted statements she made to hospital staff about being deliberately slashed in the face by Monserrate.
“These statements are fabrications by the speaker at those two court appearances,” Seidman said, asking the court to bar Kessler from participating in the potential criminal trial.
Kessler refuted Seidman’s claim, citing the deposition from police called to the hospital.
“I’ve read the letter,” Kessler said. “I don’t think anything in there indicates anything but what we presented.”
The criminal complaint filed by the Queens district attorney’s office includes the deposition by an officer from the 105th Precinct who said Giraldo told him Monserrate “broke the glass in his hand and then struck her in the face with said glass.”
Seidman also tried again unsuccessfully to lift the protective order barring Monserrate from any contact with Giraldo, offering to bring her and her attorney forward to speak.
“The case is going to go to a grand jury,” Judge Joseph Zayas said. “She can tell her side of the story then.”
Unless an indictment is handed down by the grand jury, the full measure of the district attorney’s case against the senator will probably not be known. His next court date is April 10.
“From the beginning, Karla Giraldo has said this was an accident,” Monserrate said outside the courthouse. “Anyone in this building behind me that cares about the truth will see it the same way.”
After the hearing, Seidler denied accusing Kessler of official misconduct, but did not temper his criticism of the prosecutor’s remarks.
“I’m accusing nobody of anything,” he said. “That’s for other people to determine.”
Reach reporter Jeremy Walsh by e−mail at jwalsh@tim
©2009 Community News Group
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