Espada Panics (Updated)
June 16th, 2009
Sen. Pedro Espada, Jr. seems to be concerned that one of the investigations that have dogged him for months may finally be catching up to him.
His office released a statement late tonight saying that they will call on the office of the Inspector General to investigate Bronx District Attorney Robert Johnson for “prosecutorial misconduct and selective prosecution.” Kate Gurnett, spokesperson for the Inspector General, says that her office does not have authority over the state’s District Attorneys.
Johnson has been looking into allegations that Espada does not live in the district he represents but instead in a house he owns in Mamaroneck. Espada’s press release is implying that Johnson is moving forward with his investigation out of political retribution. Espada has had a contentious relationship with Johnson in the past.
I recently interviewed Espada in the Bronx apartment he claims he lives in. Residents of the building say they don’t see Espada with any frequency. Espada is fairly open that he spends a significant amount of time at his Mamaroneck home. “If I happen to be in Mamaroneck you’ll find me in Mamaroneck,” he told me. “On a day like today you’ll find me, you know, in the Bronx.”
What prompted Espada’s sudden accusations against the Bronx DA?
According to the release from Espada’s office, “Sen. Espada revealed that he received information that Mr. Johnson has subpoenaed his New York State Senate records, including member items and residency, dating back to 1993. Sen. Espada said Mr. Johnson already has these records from a case he litigated against him in 2000.”
Just a thought, but perhaps Johnson’s office is looking for Espada’s more recent records, as well as everything else? Things certainly could have changed since 2000.
The full release from Espada’s office follows:
from State Sen. Pedro Espada, Jr.
For Immediate Release 9 p.m. Tuesday, June 16, 2009
State Senator Pedro Espada, Jr. (D-Bronx), President Pro Tempore of the New York State Senate, said today that he would file a formal complaint Wednesday mo rning with the Office of the Inspector General against Bronx District Attorney Robert Johnson. Sen. Espada will ask the Inspector General to investigate the Bronx DA for “prosecutorial misconduct and selective prosecution.”
Sen. Espada revealed that he received information that Mr. Johnson has subpoenaed his New York State Senate records, including member items and residency, dating back to 1993. Sen. Espada said Mr. Johnson already has these records from a case he litigated against him in 2000.
“In 2000, it took a Bronx jury all of 15 minutes of deliberation, without me even producing a single witness, to throw out Mr. Johnson’s case because the jury said the allegations were transparently politically motivated,” Sen. Espada said.
“Could it be that Mr. Johnson is doing the political dirty work of the Democratic Party all over again , this time for Malcolm Smith and others in the Senate who couldn’t win in an Albany court? Has Malcolm Smith and his cronies asked the Bronx DA to interfere in the State legislature and commit prosecutorial misconduct of the worst kind? Is Mr. Johnson a tool of the Democratic Party when they want to go after someone who doesn’t fall in line? We intend to get answers because I am asking the Inspector General to conduct an immediate investigation,” Sen. Espada said.
“This would be an abject misuse of the powers of his office. Clearly, Mr. Johnson has lost all semblance of objectivity when it comes to me,” he added.
Sen. Espada said he would seek any and all relief available as both a citizen of the state and as a duly elected Senator of the 33rd district in the Bronx.
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