Possible breakthrough in Pedro Espada trial

May 10, 2012 3:24:44 PM PDT
There may be a possible breakthrough in the corruption trial of former New York State Senator Pedro Espada.

The jury, after appearing to be at an impasse, told the judge they might be able to reach a verdict on some of the charges.

Pedro Espada Jr. and his son left federal court after nine days of deliberations still with no verdict in their trial on embezzlement charges.

"They're doing their job. Following the judges instructions as to whether they can arrive at a partial verdict," Espada said.

But at least one hint of how jurors are thinking is a note in which the foreperson wrote about charges that have two parts needing a guilty or not guilty finding:

"...if we have agreement on one part but not the other would that be considered as a valid verdict on that count?" the jury asked. Yes, the judge told them.

"We hope that the jurors who still seem to have problems will become convince that there is reasonable doubt here," defense attorney Susan Necheles said.

The second question: "...if we find one defendant guilty/not guilty and can't come to a decision on the other defendant what happens to the count?"

"You can find a partial verdict," the judge told them. "Then you can continue your deliberations."

Previous notes, though, reveal a discord among jurors. One at the end of Wednesday's deliberations reads, "We the jurors, have determined after eight days of deliberations, cannot arrive at a unanimous decision concerning the defendants..."

The judge then gave the jurors what's known as an Allen charge.

"Essentially what the jurors are told is to continue deliberating. Take other peoples' thoughts into consideration, but hold fast to what you believe. And if you have a strongly held belief, you should hold fast to that," Necheles said.

The jury's last note: they are leaving early today and starting later tomorrow. One of the jurors must attend a funeral on Friday morning.


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