Embedded video from CNN VideoMonserrate Keeps Seat, Gives Up Committee, Proclaims Innocence
March 23, 2009
Senate Majority Leader Malcolm Smith just released the following statement in response to the news that Sen. Hiram Monserrate has been indicted on multiple charges that he allegedly assaulted his girlfriend last December:
"Today, Senator Monserrate and I met to discuss the proceedings he is facing. As a result of this meeting, Senator Monserrate asked to temporarily step down as Chair of the Senate’s Consumer Affairs Committee."
"I have accepted his request and such action is effective immediately. Senator Monserrate will retain his duties as a member of the State Senate during this time, but will not have the privilege of serving as chair until such time as his legal proceedings have been completely resolved."
(Recall that Monserrate had already given up the $12,500 stipend this committee chairmanship carries not long after he took office in January).
A group of reporters staked out Monserrate outside the Senate majority's conference room on the third floor of the Capitol. When he finally emerged, he was immediately was swarmed by cameras - both videographers and still photographers - and print reporters with tape recorders.
Monserrate managed to hold his tongue all the way down the hallway. He paused just short of the door leading into the Senate majority's lounge and said, in his best Bob Dole impersonation:
"Senator Monserrate is innocent and I will not be resigning."
As for what's going to happen now that all those consumers are going unprotected by the chairless Consumer Protection Committee, here's what Smith's spokesman Austin Shafran had to say:
" It hasn't been decided how they're going to work the committee yet. The committee staff is going to report to the Senate secretary (Angelo Aponte) in terms of the the business of the committee. We definitely do need a chair, that still remains the same, but with the extra time constrains of the legal process and the budget we thought this was the best thing to do."