From the Queens Courier:
After Justice William Erlbaum declined to allow videotaping and restricted the photography in his courtroom stating that he has been inappropriately lobbied by people who want him to decide on a sentence before the trial, the case of the People v. Hiram Monserrate began.
Those who sat in courtroom K-4 of the Queens Supreme Court on Monday, September 21, 2009 finally listened to opening arguments from District Attorney (DA) Scott Kessler and State Senator Monserrate’s defense attorneys led by Joseph Tacopina – and three prosecution witness – on a bizarre case that has had a frenzy of the public and media attention from the of moment Monserrate’s arrest on the morning of December 19, 2008.
“We are here to support our senator who is being accused unjustly,” said Angelica Mazariegas, a domestic violence survivor from Flushing who along with about a dozen women members of the organization Community Prevention Alternatives for Families in Crisis cheered Monserrate when he walked in the Court today.
Once again, the defense tried to get Judge Erlbaum to find the testimony that victim Karla Giraldo gave to medical personal inadmissible as hearsay, the testimony will be admitted. And though at pre-trial hearings the defense had tried to also find the video surveillance tape inadmissible, Tacopina has found a different use for the tape from the hallways, vestibule and parking lot of Monserrate’s building – as a strategy to show Giraldo’s intoxicated, incoherent and irrational behavior compared to Monserrate’s calm, cool and collected one.