Judge temporarily blocks GOP Senate takeover

An appeals judge issued a temporary restraining order Thursday to prevent a new coalition from taking control of the New York Senate at least until Friday afternoon.

The decision came late Thursday after Republican state senators, joined by two dissident Democrats, took control of the Senate chamber. The chamber had been locked up since Monday, when the Republicans staged an apparent coup and took control of the Senate with the help of Democrats Pedro Espada and Hiram Monserrate.

However, Monserrate stunned his new comrades in the GOP Thursday when he announced he will not cast any votes until the entire Senate is present and more Democrats join the new coalition.

"This chamber must not remain divided, so I am going to excuse myself from these chambers," he said.

The outraged Democrats boycotted the session and locked away bills and other documents needed to pass legislation.

The Thursday ruling by Appellate Division Justice Karen Peters blocks Espada from acting as Senate president. A five-judge panel is scheduled to consider arguments Friday afternoon on whether to let that stand.

AP wires contributed to this report.

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