Espada Jr. trial continues
Jurors in the federal embezzlement trial against Pedro Espada Jr. trial were ordered back to work after an apparent impasse. Espada, meanwhile, kept up his attacks on Governor Andrew Cuomo. Grace Rauh has more.
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NEW YORK STATE -- Back to work. That was the message from a federal judge after jurors in the trial against former State Senate Majority Leader Pedro Espada Jr. said they had a problem. They told the judge one juror was refusing to engage in deliberations and announced that his or her mind was made up. The judge told them they needed to press on.
“We are just happy that whatever happened yesterday seems to have been resolved. And that the jury is fully engaged in deliberations. They are asking for evidence. And that makes us happy. Because we waiting two years to get rid of the speculation,” Espada said.
Espada is accused of stealing more than half a million dollars from the publicly-funded health care clinic he ran in the Bronx. The jury has been deliberating for four days. It has yet to reach a verdict. Espada faces up to 15 years in prison if convicted.
On her way into court, Espada's attorney fielded questions the apparent conflict in the jury room.
“Hopefully they will come to a verdict and the right verdict,” Susan Necheles said.
Federal prosecutors say Espada and his son lined their own pockets with money meant to pay for health care for the poor. State and federal funding for the center, known as Soundview, has dried up and it is struggling to keep its door open. Espada says Governor Cuomo is to blame.
“The reason why Soundview lacks supplies. The reason why SV lacks immunizations today, like never before over its 30 year people, is because the Governor, Cuomo, has instructed, illegally, against the law and against any kind of moral value you can come up with, to withhold money from Soundview,” Espada said.
The governor had this to say about Espada's comments:
“No comment,” Cuomo said.
The jury, meanwhile, seemed to take the judge's message to heart. After his talk, there were no more notes about conflict in the jury room. The judge himself even said the jury seems to be seriously deliberating.