A Democratic reader pointed me to this vintage YouTube clip from last summer’s Senate coup, recalling that while Republicans might be slamming Senate Majority Leader Pedro Espada Jr. now, there was a time when they counted him as one of their own.

This clip shows Espada taking the oath as temporary president of the Senate – the title afforded to him as a result of his decision to bolt the Democratic conference along with then-Sen. Hiram Monserrate, flipping control of the chamber back into the hands of the GOP.

Contrary to my faulty memory, Sen. Dean Skelos was, at the time, voted in as majority leader. Espada was not. The GOP split those two posts, which had been simultaneously held by ex-Senate Majority Leader/President Pro Tem Joe Bruno and his successor, Smith (until the coup, that is).

When the Democrats cut a deal to bring Espada back into their conference they very carefully crafted it so none of their members would have to cast a formal vote in favor of the turncoat senator, who was being investigated at the time for various infractions (one of those probes came to fruition today; others are yet unresolved).

Instead, the Democrats stripped the majority leader post of all constitutional powers and privileges, and provided the president – Malcolm Smith – with the right to appoint the majority leader.

So, to re-cap: There was a post-coup vote on Smith. There was not a post-coup vote on Espada – specifically so the GOP could not try during this crucial election cycle to accuse any incumbent Dems of formally supporting him.

BUT, if we follow this to the logical conclusion, that means if Espada is serving at the pleasure of the president, Smith could simply unappoint him in the wake Cuomo’s bombshell earlier today.

It’s unclear whether the Democrats are willing to entertain this, however, since there has so far been no formal statement on Cuomo’s charges against Espada. When last I checked, via Capital Tonight’s Kaitlyn Ross, the Democrats were still behind closed doors in conference.

UPDATE: Oddly, the old video, which was hosted by the Senate GOP, mysteriously became unavailable not long after I posted it. A friendly reader provided this replacement version.