Pedro Espada guilty of theft
By Adam Wisnieski
Updated: Monday, May 14, 4:05 p.m.
After 11 days of deliberations, a jury convicted former state Sen. Pedro Espada on four counts of theft, which each carries a maximum 10-year sentence.
The seven-man, five-woman jury delivered a partial verdict that found Mr. Espada guilty of stealing $448,000 from the Soundview Healthcare Network to pay for personal expenses.
Soundview is a not-for-profit network of health care facilities founded and led by Mr. Espada.
Judge Frederic Block declared a mistrial on other conspiracy and fraud charges against Mr. Espada. The jury could not come to a consensus on any of the charges against his son, Pedro G. Espada, or the conspiracy and fraud charges against the former state Senator.
The government is appealing to the court to recoup $448,000 from Mr. Espada, according to news sources.
Chaos in the jury room
Last week, according to a note to the judge, one juror screamed and cursed at another. On the third day of deliberations, the judge received a note from the jury room: “After five or ten mins from the first day of deliberations, one of the jurors refused to be open to deliberations and announced that the juror’s mind was made up,” it read.
The next day, Judge Frederic Block instructed the jurors to go back into the jury room, to keep open minds and to take their task seriously. The jurors reentered the jury room and requested dozens of documents, asking specifically for any showing money funneled from the Community Expansion Development Corporation to Soundview. The prosecution attempted to prove Mr. Espada used CEDC, a subsidiary of Soundview, to embezzle hundreds of thousands of dollars out of the taxpayer-funded health clinic.
On May, 4, things went awry again. One juror sent a long note to the judge saying the jury room was hostile.
“There are still different views between the jurors,” the note read. “One particular juror wants to leave even before you gave your instructions on Monday … This particular juror screamed, cursed, name call another juror on day 2.”
Judge Block decided to ask the jurors privately who wrote the note so he could interview that person. Mr. Espada’s attorney Susan Necheles requested that Mr. Espada and his son be allowed in the room while the interview took place.
Since the defense and prosecution are allowed to sit in on these interviews, Ms. Necheles argued her client, Mr. Espada should be allowed in as well.
KeywordsAdam Wisnieski, Pedro Espada Jr., embezzlement, Soundview Health Care Network, Pedro G. Espada, crime, politics