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Judge to Decide Monserrate Case

Monday, September 14, 2009

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.

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