March 27, 2009

Will Thompson Support Accused Slasher?

We've posted about this scumbag Monserrate before, who now is seeking financial help from within his caucus as he faces assault charges. In our eyes, any Senator who gives this piece of garbage a dime is condoning the actions. The question begs to be asked: Will Senator Antoine Thompson, Monserrate's colleague who has remained silent on this issue, assist Monserrate with his legal fees? We'll be watching you, Antoine.

Colleagues of State Senator Hiram Monserrate, who has been indicted on six counts of assaulting his companion, have discussed setting up a fund to aid his legal defense, senators said on Thursday.

The idea of helping Mr. Monserrate cover his legal expenses came up during a closed-door meeting of Senate Democrats this week. Though senators were not directly asked to contribute, Majority Leader Malcolm Smith told them he would not stand in their way if they wanted to assist Mr. Monserrate, who is accused of slashing his companion in the face with a drinking glass.

“He said, ‘If you want to help out a colleague, you should feel free to do so,’ ” Austin Shafran, a spokesman for Mr. Smith, said on Thursday.

He said Mr. Smith also told the senators that he had contributed to the legal defense of another senator, Efrain Gonzalez Jr., who was charged in 2006 with stealing more than $400,000 in state money.

Mr. Shafran had no further comment and declined to say whether Mr. Smith planned to give money to Mr. Monserrate’s legal defense.

A spokesman for Mr. Monserrate, Davidson Goldin, could not say how Mr. Monserrate is paying his legal bills.

“Senator Monserrate is complying with the advice of his election law attorney in paying his bills,” Mr. Goldin said, adding that he could not elaborate.

The State Board of Elections has ruled that public officials can spend campaign funds to defend themselves, but it has limited such use to cases in which the charges arise from the official’s campaigning or “office holding.”

The board’s position has allowed indicted public officials like former Senator Guy Velelle to use their campaign accounts to pay their lawyers.

Mr. Monserrate’s case is different; he is accused of crimes that have no obvious connection to his role as a public official.

Courtesy of the New York Times

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