Ex-Aide to New York Gov. Cuomo Convicted of Corruption

Ceria Alfonso
Marcha 13, 2018

A federal jury in Manhattan found Joseph Percoco guilty of two counts of conspiracy to commit honest services wire fraud and one count of soliciting bribes after deliberating for parts of three weeks. "While I am sad for Joe Percoco's young daughters who will have to deal with this pain, I echo the message of the verdict - there is no tolerance for any violation of the public trust".

Percoco, his face flushed and his demeanor dour, was found guilty by a deeply divided jury that sent out surprising word of its verdict at 11:42 a.m. after twice announcing jurors were at an impasse.

They said Aiello and Gerardi paid cash bribes through shell companies to get favorable treatment for development of a parking lot.

However, in a surprise twist, he was acquitted of conspiracy to commit extortion, extortion, and one of the two bribery counts.

The trial was full of twists and turns, aside from the near-deadlocked jury. The trial of Mr. Kaloyeros, the former president of the State University's Polytechnic Institute, involves bid-rigging in Mr. Cuomo's signature upstate economic development plan, the so-called Buffalo Billion.

Percoco was a longtime friend of the governor and the manager of his 2014 re-election campaign.

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At the height of his influence, Percoco, whom Cuomo had once described as his father's "third son", was known as the governor's enforcer, responsible for everything from keeping lawmakers in line and intimidating Cuomo's political rivals to making sure chairs and thermostats were in order for the governor'spublic appearances.

Defense attorneys argued the entire case rested on unreliable testimony from the government's star witness, Todd Howe. In addition to alleging corrupt dealings with Percoco as he sat just steps away from Cuomo's office, Howe described how he enjoyed cozy, favored access to several officials as a lobbyist and painted an unflattering picture of Cuomo losing his temper at one meeting to curry favor with a donor. The term was used in the HBO mob drama "The Sopranos".

Howe's credibility was the centerpiece of the case, as defense lawyers challenged the credibility of a witness who admitted that he had been a chronic deadbeat for much of his life who cheated countless creditors, embezzled almost $1 million from his law firm, and had also been convicted of bank theft for kiting a check.

It led the government to have his bail revoked midway through his seven days on the witness stand. The other scheme involved a Syracuse based developer where Percoco received $35,000 in payments in exchange for helping the company beat back a labor agreement and gain back money owed to them by the state.

Howe, after cutting a deal, detailed how he served as the middleman between Percoco and his co-defendants and provided much of the prosecution's most damning testimony.

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