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Judge Convinces Jurors To Renew Deliberations In Espada Fraud Trial

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The judge overseeing the trial of former State Senate Majority Leader Pedro Espada Jr. addressed jurors Thursday morning after they passed a note the previous day saying one panel member refused to deliberate.

At one point, the judge told jurors, "Nobody said this was going to be easy."

He then instructed them to head back into the deliberation room, and later said the jurors were taking the task seriously.

Espada and his son are accused of stealing hundreds of thousands of dollars from the Soundview Health Clinic, taking funds meant to pay for medical care for the poor.

"The jury is fully engaged in deliberations. They are asking for evidence. And that makes us happy, because we waiting two years to get rid of all the speculation," said Espada.

The medical facility is turning away patients because of so-called cash flow issues.

In an exclusive interview with NY1, two Soundview employees who asked to remain anonymous said the conditions at the clinic are horrible.

"A lot of services that we would generally be able to provide were not there. There were many times when we weren't able to provide vaccines, we weren't able to provide routine services," said one employee.

"The staff - that have not been able to receive financial - they work these hours, they physically came into work everyday and they still are -- they haven't received a penny and all they're receiving is a promise," said another.

Espada says Governor Andrew Cuomo is to blame for the clinic's problems and claims the governor told the state Department of Health to stop funding the clinic.

"The reason why Soundview lacks supplies, the reason why Soundview lacks immunizations, today like never before for over its 30-year period, is because Governor Cuomo has instructed illegally, against the law and against any kind of moral value you can come up with, to withhold monies from Soundview," said Espada.

After hearing from reporters that Espada's comments were "unfavorable," the governor said Thursday that he did not want to comment.

Friday will be the the fifth day of deliberations.

Espada faces up to 15 years in prison if convicted.

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