Ex-state Sen. Pedro Espada and his son Pedro G. Espada were arraigned in federal court today on charges they stole money from their Soundview health clinic to pay for their lavish lifestyle.
Federal prosecutors filed a superseding indictment today, adding two additional charges of creating false documents. Both Espadas pled not guilty to the charges.
Leaving the courthouse in Brooklyn this evening, Espada said he felt good about his case, and was confidant that he and his son would be vindicated.
“We have faith in this system,” said Espada, dressed in a light gray suit and a purple tie. “It is a system that I took an oath of office to serve in the State Senate. This is the same system that allowed a kid from Puerto Rico to come to the United States, be homeless and be successful. We look forward to it. We’re absolutely well represented here, but mostly we trust our faith, our family and the system of justice that we’re absolutely ready for.”
Susan Necheles, Espada’s attorney, said the federal government’s case against her client was difficult to pin down, mainly because prosecutors kept adding and removing charges at random.
“One day they’ll say we stole something, the next day they’ll take that out of the indictment, no we didn’t steal it, instead you stole something else,” Necheles said. “They keep changing those things. And now they found another document. They this other document is a false document. So it’s hard to say what exactly they are because they keep changing.”
Prosecutors unveiled new charges against Espada earlier this month, accusing the former legislator of making false statements to the federal government and underreporting his salary on government forms.
Espada, who represented a district in the Bronx even while residing in Westchester County, was defeated in a Democratic primary in 2010 by Gustavo Rivera. Espada had a colorful tenure in the Senate, being named majority leader in 2009 after throwing the chamber into chaos during the infamous Senate coup.
Espada’s due back in court on Feb. 17, when his trial will begin. During the arraignment, Judge Frederic Block seemed to suggest that the case could drag on for several months, due to the volume of evidence.
“I hope no one’s planned any vacations,” the judge said.
Here’s the federal government’s indictment against Espada:
Espada Indictment S-2