Arun Venugopal is a reporter and the creator of Micropolis, WNYC’s multi-platform series examining race, sexuality, religion, street life and other issues that define New York City. He has been with the station since 2005, and has covered a wide range of stories, including the death of Sean Bell, the controversy over the Park 51 mosque and community center and Occupy Wall Street .
Judge to Decide Monserrate Case
Monday, September 14, 2009
New York, NY –
Queens state senator Hiram Monserrate's fate will be decided by a judge, not a jury. Monserrate's attorney, Joseph Tacopina, asked for a bench trial today. He says he's concerned a jury might be swayed by emotion, and not by the facts.
TACOPINA: We're that comfortable with the facts in this case. We're that comfortable with the law in this case. That we don't need anything but an impartial fact finder, and surely we have one today.
Monserrate faces charges of assaulting his girlfriend with a cut glass, causing a cut near her eye that required 20 stitches. Both Monserrate and his girlfriend say Monserrate accidentally tripped while holding the glass. If convicted, the state senator could face up to seven years in jail. Opening arguments begin next Monday.