Former State Senator Pedro Espada has been convicted on four charges related to stealing from his health care clinic in the Bronx. But a judge declared a mistrial on several other counts against the former senator, as well as all the counts against his son. YNN's Grace Rauh has more from Brooklyn.
NEW YORK, N.Y. -- Nearly every day for the last two months, Pedro Espada Jr. has been upbeat about his chances.
“We are confident as always,” Espada said.
But the former State Senate Majority Leader's optimism was no match for the jury. It found him guilty of four counts of theft. He was accused of stealing hundreds of thousands of dollars from his not-for-profit health care clinic. Prosecutors said he treated the clinic like his personal ATM, funding a lavish lifestyle with money that should have been used to provide health care for the poor.
Espada's son was also on trial, but the jury was hung on all counts related to him. A mistrial was declared on eight counts against him and four counts against the elder Espada.
“This is a sad day for Mr. Espada and his family. And a sadder day still for Soundview and the Soundview community. The health care center has been destroyed,” said Susan Necheles, attorney for Espada Jr.
At times, it seemed like a mistrial would be declared on all counts. Notes from the jury room indicated that the deliberations were hostile at times, with jurors deadlocked.
“One of the jurors, right from the start, came to the table and within 15 minutes of our deliberation, without even looking at a document, jumped up and said, he's innocent, he's innocent. I don't care what you tell me, I'll never change my mind,” one juror said.
Jurors we spoke with explained how they were able to convince three holdouts to convict.
“A couple of us just got together and laid it out for them from A to Z,” said a juror.
When Governor Cuomo was state Attorney General, he helped bring the charges against Espada. He said in a statement, "Those who would abuse the public trust have a pointed lesson in the downfall of former Senator Espada. In New York, we will have no tolerance for government corruption."
Espada is facing up to ten years in prison for each theft count. Prosecutors also want him to fork over close to $450,000 they say he stole. The U.S. Attorney's Office has the ability to retry the counts the jury could not reach a decision on, but it seems unlikely given the high-profile conviction it has already won.