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Jurors In Espada Corruption Trial Say Discussions "Hostile"

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TWC News: Jurors In Espada Corruption Trial Say Discussions "Hostile"
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A day after the panel was ordered to keep deliberating in the embezzlement trial of former State Senate Majority Leader Pedro Espada Junior, panel members passed a note to the judge Friday saying things are getting "hostile".

The note went on to say there's screaming, cursing and name calling going on inside the jury room.

The judge eventually called the jury back into the courtroom and told them to cool it.

He also spoke privately to the letter's author.

Lawyers for both sides were present - along with Espada - but the transcript of the exchange will not be released until the end of the trial.

"Maintaining one's position, if one has arrived at a position, is within the judge's instructions. And that should not serve as a reason for people to be bullied, to be cursed at. Because clearly that's not what this should be about," Espada Jr. told reporters outside the courtroom.

Federal prosecutors say Espada stole more than half a million dollars from the publicly-funded Soundview Health Clinic he ran in the Bronx.

He faces up to 15 years in prison if convicted.

Apart from the trial, Espada also got some bad news from Albany on Friday as the state Legislative Ethics Commission announced that it is hitting the former lawmaker with an $80,000 fine for giving his uncle a job with the State Senate.

That same uncle sat on the board of directors of the health clinic Espada is accused of looting.

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