Disgraced Former State Senate Majority Leader Pedro Espada Jr. is a free man, at least for now, as a judge put off a decision on whether or not to revoke his bail for at least a week in order to give Espada's defense team one week to contest the latest accusations against him. NY1's Grace Rauh filed the following report.
Pedro Espada Jr. says the V is for victory and for peace.
He was smiling and celebrating Friday after a federal judge refused to immediately throw him behind bars.
Prosecutors charged Espada violated his bail agreement. In May, the former Majority Leader of the State Senate was convicted of stealing from a government-funded health clinic he ran in the Bronx.
"They lie," Espada said. "They came to court with a bag of lies. And thanks to Justice Block, we are going home with a victory today."
The victory will not necessarily last. The judge said he needed more time before he could decide whether Espada violated his bail agreement.
Federal prosecutors say that after Espada's conviction, he continued to steal from the health clinic. They say he took at least $144,000 of its money after it was sold in June. They argue it is a clear violation of the judge's order that Espada not be directly involved in Soundview's affairs.
Judge Frederic Block suggested in court that he did not think Espada's behavior crossed any legal lines.
"I agree with you, this thing has an odor," he said. "But I have to apply the law."
The judge gave Espada's attorney, Susan Necheles, one week to pull together her response to the government's accusations. Necheles said Espada did not violate the terms of his bail.
"There was no order that he couldn't receive money," Necheles said. "For them to come in in this way, it is nothing but an attempt to prejudice the jury pool and try to prevent him from getting a fair trial."
Espada is scheduled to begin another trial on related tax charges in November.