Elder Espada faces new tax charges

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Former state Senate powerhouse Pedro Espada will face new tax charges connected to his indictment for embezzling money from a federally funded health clinic for the poor, prosecutors said Friday.

Espada, onetime Senate majority leader from the Bronx and Westchester counties, was charged in December with diverting a half-million dollars from the Soundview Health Clinic for campaign and personal expenses - including a Bentley, window treatments and Broadway tickets.

Espada, 57, and his son, Pedro Gautier Espada, 37, a Soundview executive, have pleaded not guilty to the six-count indictment. Espada was defeated in a bid for re-election in November.

Prosecutor Colleen Kavanagh said tax charges will likely be added in February and told U.S. District Judge Frederic Block that a plea from the ex-pol was unlikely.

"I don't anticipate that the case will resolve short of trial," she said.

"They're right," said defense lawyer Susan Nachemas, asked about the prediction outside court.

The elder Espada appeared in good spirits, bantering with reporters as he left court. He said he was spending his time trying to stay in shape despite the snow, and he wished his ex-colleagues in Albany good luck in balancing the state budget.

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