Democratic New York State Senator and chair of the Committee On Crime Victims, Crime And Corrections Luis Sepúlveda turned himself in to police Tuesday for allegedly choking his estranged wife during a fight over the weekend, police confirmed.
Police responded to a 9-1-1 call Saturday for a domestic incident. Sepúlveda, 56, and Elizabeth Sepúlveda, his 40-year-old wife, both told police that they were each assaulted by one another, police said.
Sepúlveda said his wife had punched him in the face while she told police he had his hands clasped around her neck and was choking her, according to The New York Times (NYT).
Police tell us he’s been charged with criminal obstruction of breathing. We’re told they were both fighting each other & accused each other when the complaint was filed on the 9th.
— Jessica Cunnington (@JessicaNews12) January 12, 2021
Sepúlveda turned himself in to police Tuesday and was charged with Criminal Obstruction of Breathing, police confirmed to the Daily Caller.
Marvin Ray Raskin, Sepúlveda’s lawyer, denied the allegations, according to the NYT.
“This false accusation is a calculated attempt by a disgruntled party to leverage a divorce settlement from a case she filed in Florida this past November. All allegations must be taken seriously and investigated to the full extent of the law, which is why the senator is committed to and will proactively provide full transparency as this matter is resolved.”
Sepúlveda’s wife lives in Florida with the couple’s 9-year-old son, Raskin said, per the report. Their child was not present at the time of the incident, the NYT reported.
Sepúlveda has spearheaded criminal justice reforms and in 2019 sponsored the so-called Green Light bill which granted driver’s licenses to undocumented immigrants in New York, according to the NYT.
Despite the allegations, former presidential candidate Bernie Sanders still has Sepúlveda on his endorsement page. A representative from Sanders’ team has not responded to a request for comment.
Sepúlveda also has ties to New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, having worked with him in 2014 to secure funding for universal pre-kindergarten.
De Blasio delivered a congratulatory speech in 2018 for Sepúlveda’s election to the state senate, saying it was a “great victory” for the Bronx.
De Blasio’s office has also not returned a request for comment regarding the allegations. (RELATED: REPORT: Ex-Head Of Government Watchdog Previously Busted For Meth Allegedly Attacked Man With Hammer)
Since the news of his arrest broke, Sepúlveda has been removed from his committee assignments in the state senate.
“We learned of this disturbing incident this morning and I am immediately removing Senator Sepúlveda as chair of his committee and from all his committee assignments,” Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins said in a statement. “I take these allegations extremely seriously and will be monitoring the situation closely.”
Democratic State Sen. Alessandra Biaggi said there must be “zero tolerance for violence or abuse of any kind” and called on Sepúlveda to resign should the allegations turn out to be true.
Sepúlveda announced earlier this month that he would be running for Bronx borough president, according to the NYT.
State Assemblywoman and fellow Bronx borough president candidate Nathalia Fernández said Sepúlveda should “submit his resignation” following the allegations.
Unfortunately, this is not the first time allegations of domestic violence have been brought against Senator Sepulveda. We need leadership that empowers women — I’m calling for the Senator to submit his resignation https://t.co/nDH14CddjP
— Nathalia Fernández (@Fernandez4NY) January 12, 2021
The Daily Caller has reached out to Sepúlveda’s office but did not receive a response at the time of publication.