Former N.Y. Senator Pedro Espada Jr. Found Guilty Of 4 Counts Of Theft
NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Hours after jurors reached a partial verdict in the federal fraud case against former Bronx senator Pedro Espada Jr., the judge declared a mistrial in the remaining conspiracy and tax fraud counts against the politician and in all counts against his son.
WCBS 880′s Alex Silverman On The Case
Espada was found guilty on four counts of theft for events that took place from 2005 until 2008.
Espada and his son, Pedro G. Espada, faced five counts of embezzlement and three counts of conspiracy. The embezzlement charge carried up to 10 years in prison, the conspiracy charges could have led to five years.
“It’s a sad day fro Mr. Espada and his family and a sadder day still for Soundview and the Soundview community,” attorney Susan Necheles said.
1010 WINS’ Juliet Papa With More On The Story
Jurors deliberated the other charges, but sent a note to the judge shortly before 2:30 p.m. that said, “We cannot reach a unanimous decision on any of the remaining counts,” 1010WINS’ Juliet Papa reported.
The judge accepted the deadlock, but the jury is not done. The government is asking for $448,000 in restitution so the jury still has to decide that, Papa reported.
The partial verdict came after 11 days of deliberations.
Most of jurors didn’t want to speak, but two spoke to CBS 2’s Sean Hennessey about the difficulties of deliberations, especially when one juror seemed to have her heels dug in from the beginning.
“Without looking at a document, jumped up and said ‘he’s innocent, he’s innocent, he’s innocent and I don’t care what you tell me, I will never change my mind,” juror Anita Coleman said.
“It was emotional basis in the beginning but once logic prevailed we were able to get to where we got today,” juror Benjamin Coleman added.
Espada was accused of looting more than $600,000 from his Soundview Health Clinic, CBS 2′s Chris Wragge reported.
The lengthy deliberations gave rise to some unusual moments. Last Friday, Espada told CBS 2′s Marcia Kramer he was wearing rosary beads and a cross to protect him from black magic rituals practiced by an FBI agent to influence the jury. On Friday he had all his supporters and family wearing special colors, red and black, to “protect” him from the prosecution’s so-called black magic.
Espada said he’s not to blame for the fact that the clinic has to stop seeing patients because it has no money.
Espada previously said Gov. Andrew 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.
It was 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
- Baseball tickets
- Pony rides and and a petting zoo for a family member’s birthday party
- $10,000 in home renovations
- $60,000 in restaurant bills and spa treatments
- $20,000 for a Puerto Rican vacation
- $60,000 for an SUV
- And another $20,000 for a Mercedes down payment
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.
From there, the allegations against Espada began to pile up.
At his peak, Espada was Senate Majority Leader, one of the three most powerful positions in Albany, and the most powerful Latino in the capital. However, he used that power to help bring Albany to a halt for five weeks, prompting people in the South Bronx to wonder what his real agenda was, CBS 2′s Pablo Guzman reported.
Espada will also face a second trial on tax fraud and a civil suit that includes allegations first disclosed by CBS 2 that he underpaid janitors at his clinic, with some getting as little as $1.70 an hour.
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