Friday, May 4, 2012

Judge declines to put wrap on Pedro's yap 

Espada allowed press conferences outside courthouse

Pedro Espada Jr.

Bryan Pace/for New York Daily News

Pedro Espada Jr. has gotten a judge's okay to hold press conferences outside courthouse.

FEDERAL PROSECUTORS tried — and failed — to put a muzzle on Pedro Espada Jr. on Thursday while a jury deliberates embezzlement charges against the ex-state senator.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Roger Burlingame — seeking to put a stop to Espada’s press conferences outside the Brooklyn courthouse — alerted the judge that jurors could be exposed to Espada’s comments at a sensitive stage in the seven-week trial.
But Judge Frederic Block refused to tell Espada to shut up. “I think he’s entitled to have all the press conferences he wants,” Block said. “My job is to make sure the jury doesn't hear about it.”
Espada has been ranting against Gov. Cuomo since the Daily News reported Wednesday that Espada’s Soundview Health Center stopped treating patients due to serious cash-flow problems.
Espada and his son Pedro Gautier Espada are charged with looting more than $600,000 from the Bronx nonprofit for personal expenses.
Minutes after the judge gave the OK to press conferences, Espada went outside and bashed the governor some more in English and Spanish, then spoke to reporters again after the jury was dismissed for the day. “I want 12 jurors with me!” he proclaimed.
After a rough day on Wednesday, the jurors appeared to have put their squabbling aside, requesting more than two dozen exhibits to review. Six jurors had signed a note on Wednesday accusing a fellow juror of refusing to deliberate.
One juror wore a large, floppy hat pulled down over her face when she passed the bank of TV cameras.
“The jury is obviously revisiting the entire case, step-by-step, piece-by-piece,” Block said.
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