Monserrate opts for bench trial

September 14, 2009 11:58:35 AM PDT
One of New York state's leading politicians is headed for trial. Senator Hiram Monserrate, 42, helped lead the coup that shut-down the state Senate.

The trial will be decided by Judge William Erlbaum of state Supreme Court in Queens instead of a 12-member jury. It is slated to start Sept. 21.

Monserrate is accused of slashing his girlfriend across the face with a broken glass.

She needed 20-stitches to close the wound around her left eye.

Prosecutors say his girlfriend, Karla Giraldo, 30, at first said he broke the glass and slashed her intentionally. She later changed her story.

Monserrate has pleaded not guilty to second-degree assault in the Dec. 18 incident at his apartment. He faces loss of his Senate seat if convicted on the top charge.

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