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Juror Refuses To Deliberate, Espada Trial Temporarily Comes To A Halt

U.S. District Court Judge Block To Decide Thursday On New Course Of Action
Former State Senator Pedro Espada Jr. (credit: CBS 2)

Former State Senator Pedro Espada Jr. (credit: CBS 2)

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NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — A deadlocked jury has delayed a verdict in the federal fraud case against former Bronx senator Pedro Espada. As he awaited his fate earlier Wednesday, an angry Espada went off on Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

It was a stunning turn of events inside Brooklyn Federal Court. Six of the 12 jurors sent a note to the judge saying one of the jurors decided within the first 10 minutes of their meeting that he or she would not deliberate. So stunned by this, U.S. District Court Judge Fredric Block decided to sleep on the development and come back Thursday with a decision on how to proceed, reported CBS 2’s Marcia Kramer.

The judge may have no choice but to declare a mistrial or proceed with just 11 jurors, a scenario that would be sure to get legal scholars asking questions, Kramer reported.

Espada stands accused of looting more than $500,000 from his Soundview Health Clinic, but he says he’s not to blame for the fact that the clinic has to stop seeing patients because it has no money.

Locals who rely on Soundview told CBS 2’s Hazel Sanchez on Wednesday they are furious.

“I’m not really sure why they still have the doors open. What’s the point? If you can’t service the community you’re in why you still here?” one patient said.

“There would be no problem at Soundview but for the illegal behavior of the Department of Health of the State of New York,” Espada said.

Espada said Gov. Cuomo is behind a Department of Health decision to withhold hundreds of thousands of dollars in Medicaid funds. As a result, Espada said, there’s no money to pay the staff and patients are being told the clinic can no longer serve them.

Espada said Cuomo is worse than former governor Eliot Spitzer, who once called himself “the steamroller.”

“He is worse than the steamroller. He has no moral compass, Mr. Cuomo does. He operates in the shadows,” Espada said.

Espada charged Cuomo’s action will “issue a death penalty to 20,000 patients who depend on this health care.”

It was Gov. Cuomo who first brought charges against Espada, claiming he was looting Soundview to live the high life. Among the things Espada reportedly spent Soundview money on included:

* A $49,000 down payment on a Bentley

* 46 meals at Yonkers Raceway, including a $230 bottle of Dom Perignon champagne

* $20,000 worth of sushi at Mamaroneck restaurants

Espada also reportedly charged Soundview for improvements to his Mamaroneck home. As CBS 2 first told you, Espada lived in suburban Mamaroneck instead of his Bronx Senate district.

Cuomo spokesman Richard Bamberger said: “Out of respect for the jury process, we will have no comment while this federal criminal matter is pending.”

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