Espada Faces New Tax Fraud Charges

Tuesday, Apr 5, 2011  |  Updated 2:41 PM EDT
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Espada Faces New Tax Fraud Charges

AP

Pedro Espada.

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Former New York state Senate Democratic leader Pedro Espada and his son are facing new charges in their federal fraud case.

Prosecutors said Monday that a revised indictment charges Espada and his son, Pedro G. Espada with filing false tax returns.

The Espadas already were charged with embezzling more than $500,000 from their federally funded Bronx health clinic. Prosecutors say the senator used the funds to splurge on expensive meals and pony rides for a family birthday party.

The 57-year-old Espada and his son have pleaded not guilty. Jury selection for their trial in federal court in Brooklyn is set for Sept. 12.

After leaving court Tuesday morning, Espada said he was certain he would be exonerated of the new and old charges, the New York Post said.

"We're fine -- we're absolutely ready, and we look forward to the September trial," Espada said at an impromptu press conference.

The U.S. Attorney's Office in Brooklyn has offered the Espadas plea deals that would require them to admit wrongdoing in exchange for reduced sentences. The Espadas' attorneys have said they will  refuse any plea deals.


 

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