Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Amigos on jury held up Espada verdict

Last Updated: 4:14 AM, May 15, 2012
Posted: 12:34 AM, May 15, 2012

They were his three amigos in the jury room.
The man who virtually shut down Albany in 2008, when he formed what was dubbed a “three amigos” coup in the Legislature, had a trio of hardheaded jurors on his side from the get-go, other frustrated members of the panel said yesterday.
“One of the jurors right from the start came to the table and within 15 minutes of deliberations jumped up and said, ‘He’s innocent, he’s innocent, he’s innocent. I don’t care what you tell me; I will never change my mind!’ ” recalled Juror No. 5, Anita Coleman.
Coleman — one of nine initial “guilty” votes — said the majority asked the holdouts, “Why? Tell us why you know he is innocent, and show us your documents, what your opposition is.”
“And one of the jurors turned around and [justified her not- guilty vote only by saying] ‘Because I can!’ ” Coleman recalled.
“That’s what we were up against for two weeks,” she said.
Juror No. 3, Benjamin Coleman, no relation, said, “I think maybe they thought the government was against Espada, maybe there was a vendetta.”
Erik Gansky, Juror No. 7, said that the lead holdout was Juror No. 2, a woman named Fabiola St. Phar, who other jurors complained in a note to Judge Frederic Block was refusing to deliberate.
St. Phar rejected that claim yesterday — even as she shook hands with Espada’s lawyer — saying, “All the jurors already knew where they wanted to be, so we just wanted to look at evidence.”
Other jurors said the three “not-guilty” jurors considered convicting Espada only after the majority showed them “piece-by-piece, step-by-step how this crime was committed” by reviewing testimony and documents, Coleman said.
In 2008, Espada formed what was called his “three amigos” coalition with fellow Democrats Ruben Diaz and Hiram Monserratte to threaten their own party’s majority.

Read more: http://www.nypost.com/p/news/local/amigos_on_jury_held_up_verdict_UtJaRnWaOpoBaoEYe3k1yI#ixzz1uwoEGmp2

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