He’d already been publicly disgraced and expelled from public office, and Tuesday, former Queens State Sen. Hiram Monserrate was sentenced to prison. NY1's Bobby Cuza filed the following report.
It wasn’t so long ago Hiram Monserrate was at the center of New York politics. A pivotal figure in the coup that gave Republicans control of the state senate in 2008, he was later convicted of misdemeanor assault when he was accused of slashing his girlfriend in the face.
That incident got him expelled from the state senate.
But now, Monserrate’s fall from grace is complete.
Tuesday he was sentenced to two years in prison in a separate case where he pleaded guilty in May to one felony count each of mail fraud and conspiracy. He was accused of redirecting City Council funds earmarked for a Queens nonprofit group to his own 2006 failed state Senate campaign.
Federal Judge Colleen McMahon gave Monserrate a scathing lecture from the bench, comparing him to Richard Nixon, and saying “if I did my personal set of circles of hell ... using other people’s money for your own purposes is, like, way down in the lowest circle of hell.”
Monserrate, meanwhile, choked back tears as he pleaded for leniency, noting he has a son and elderly mother who require special care.
The judge told him he should’ve thought of them before committing a felony.
“From a very early age, I learned when you commit sins, you must atone for the sins," Monserrate said. "I took responsibility and this is part of the atonement.”
In addition to prison, he will also have to pay almost $80,000 in restitution.
After his assault conviction and expulsion from the state Senate, Monserrate continued to seek public office, running again for his old seat.
As for now, his attorney assured the court Tuesday that at this point, Monserrate has no political ambition. He will report to prison on March 11.