Local State Lawmakers React To Percoco Guilty Verdict

Local State Lawmakers React To Percoco Guilty Verdict

Joseph Percoco, a former top aide and confidant to Gov. Andrew Cuomo, was convicted Tuesday of three felony charges in connection with accepting more than $300,000 in payments from companies with business before the state, according to reports.

The three executives were on trial alongside Percoco.

Steve Aiello and Joseph Gerardi, two of Percoco's co-defendants, were acquitted on nearly all counts, but Aiello was convicted of conspiracy to commit honest services wire fraud.

Joseph Percoco, who was once likened to a brother by the Democratic governor, faces up to 20 years in prison for his conviction on conspiracy to commit honest services wire fraud and soliciting bribes.

Joe Percoco was facing six counts of extortion, bribery and corruption.

Jurors deadlocked on two counts involving Kelly.

Percoco was indicted on bribery and conspiracy charges in November 2016.

At the height of his influence, Mr. Percoco, whom Mr. 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 Mr. Cuomo's political rivals to making sure chairs and thermostats were in order for the governor's public appearances.

Cuomo said that while he is sad for Percoco's young daughters "who will have to deal with this pain", there's "no tolerance for any violation of the public trust". The defense team also portrayed the prosecution's star witness and disgraced former lobbyist Todd Howe as unreliable.

More news: Dog dies after flight attendant has it placed in overhead storage

The complex case involves ten separate charges against four defendants.

"Why it's ok for the head of the campaign to be working as a volunteer as it were out of the governor's office and influencing important state decisions is a matter of great concern to watchdog groups like ours", John Kahney of Reinvent Albany said.

The case highlighted Percoco's use of the word "ziti" in emails with Howe, a term borrowed from 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 jurors made clear virtually from the start that they were struggling to reach consensus.

In one scheme, Howe testified, Kelly hired Lisa Percoco to design and occasionally teach in an outreach energy education program for elementary students in return for Percoco's advocacy in Albany. Today they asked. She said they could.

Prosecutors said the unusual arrangement was a sign of efforts to cover up the payments that reflected their corrupt nature. And it could not reach a verdict on two counts against one of Percoco's co-defendants, an executive accused of bribing him in exchange for official actions.

Related Articles