As we noted yesterday, the network of Bronx health clinics pillaged by disgraced ex-State Senator Pedro Espada, Jr. are struggling to stay afloat. Since Espada was indicted and put on trial for embezzlement, the non-profit has had to turn away more and more patients—the Times reports today that three-quarters of Soundview's patients are being denied health care. The government has been withholding Medicaid funding to Soundview, and to make matters worse, the clinic is reportedly picking up the tab for Espada's legal fees.

Sources tell the Post that the taxpayer-funded clinic has been paying for Espada's criminal defense, shelling out an estimated $1 million to $1.5 million to his legal team. Joseph Tacopina, a defense lawyer you may recall from such hit trials as "Rape Cops" Get Off, tells the tabloid, "If you scour the bowels of the criminal-justice system in America, I don’t think you’d ever find another case with that scenario. An organization that he was accused of bilking is funding his defense for bilking that organization? That’s unique!"

Say what you want about that rascally Espada, he certainly is unique. And though he faces up to four years in prison for the theft convictions, we haven't seen the last of him. Prosecutors are reportedly going to put him on trial again on the charges the jury couldn't agree on, and that goes for his son Pedro G. Espada's lawyer says her client intends to appeal the theft conviction, and she believes there "are extremely strong issues, including tremendous government misconduct." For one thing, an FBI agent involved in the case was using black magic to influence the jury.

Daniel C. Richman, a Columbia Law School professor and former federal prosecutor in New York, offers some interesting insight into prosecutors' motivation for the retrial. Richman tells the times the prosecution might be pursuing the unresolved charges against Espada “as leverage to persuade Espada to abandon his appeal of the charges he was convicted on. One of the government’s goals with a public figure of this sort is to have him go as quickly and quietly as possible."