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Pedro Espada found guilty of theft, faces another trial

STEPHON JOHNSON Amsterdam News Staff | 4/11/2013, 4:21 p.m.
After 11 days of deliberation, a jury decided that former New York State Sen. Pedro...
Pedro Espada found guilty of theft, faces another trial

After 11 days of deliberation, a jury decided that former New York State Sen. Pedro Espada Jr. was a thief.

On Monday, Espada was convicted of stealing $500,000 between 2005 and 2008 from a federally funded health clinic in the Bronx that he founded. According to sources, he stands to be tried yet again on four federal counts that the jury couldn't agree on. A new trial date hasn't been set yet.

June 5 is the deadline that federal prosecutors have to tell U.S. District Judge Frederic Block their decision. Espada faces up to 10 years in prison for each count.

According to reports, Pedro Gautier Espada, the former senator's son, will also face a new trial after jurors couldn't agree on the same charges his father faced. His case was declared a mistrial.

Prosecutors want Espada to pay a $448,000 forfeiture for the charges he was convicted for.

It was a cheerful and optimistic Espada who told an AmNews reporter a week ago that he was "confident...the jury's been deliberating almost a week."

Even on the Monday he was convicted, a beaming Espada greeted reporters as he entered Brooklyn Federal Court. A couple of hours later, the clouds had gathered--figuratively and literally.

Calling his prosecution a persecution, State Sen. Reuben Diaz said that authorities targeted Espada because he was one of the four State Senate Democrats who brought upstate politicking to a standstill for weeks in 2009. The four were Senators Hiram Monserrate, Carl Kruger, Diaz and Espada.

In an interview with City & State, Diaz said, "There's been persecution of all of us since the coup."

The many days of deliberations led some to believe that Espada would be acquitted, so the stunning decision sent shockwaves through the halls of power.

It didn't take long for New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo to weigh in.

"Those who would abuse the public trust have a pointed lesson in the downfall of former Senator Espada. My comments at the time I filed the original charges bear repeating: In New York, we will have no tolerance for government corruption," said Cuomo in an emailed statement. "As attorney general and as governor, I have fought to bring performance, integrity and pride back to what was, at one time, the best state government in the nation. We are making progress.

"Mr. Espada has made many accusations and comments about me since my actions began," continued Cuomo. "Today the jury spoke loud and clear, making Mr. Espada a convicted felon."