Former Cuomo 'Enforcer' Convicted on Corruption Charges

Former Cuomo Aide Percoco Convicted On Corruption Charges

Former Cuomo top aide found guilty on 3 counts in corruption trial

Percoco, Cuomo's former closest aide who has been described as being like a "brother" to the governor, was found guilty of participating in two bribery schemes, where he netted $300,000.

Joseph Percoco, a former top aide to Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo, was found guilty Tuesday of conspiracy to commit honest services wire fraud and solicitation of bribes, a rebuke of Albany's murky backroom dealings that were laid bare during the almost eight-week trial. A second executive with the company, Joseph Gerardi, was acquitted on all counts.

The jury could not reach a unanimous decision on one count for Peter Galbraith Kelly Jr., the fourth defendant in the case. The U.S. Attorney's office didn't immediately announce whether it would seek a retrial.

Kelly was charged with providing Percoco's wife, Lisa Toscano Percoco, with a $90,000-per-year job with a CPV educational program - a salary that, according to trial testimony, she performed little work for, and that was paid through an obscure Connecticut-based firm in order to hide her employment from public view. Percoco's lawyer could not immediately be reached for comment.

Percoco thanked his family for standing by him.

The U.S. Attorney for Manhattan, Geoffrey Berman, said in a statement that Percoco had sold "his sacred obligation to honestly and faithfully serve the citizens of NY".

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Assemblyman James Skoufis, the Woodbury Democrat whose district includes the CPV plant site, urged Gov. Andrew Cuomo to withdraw CPV's permits and start a "full, comprehensive investigation into the project's approvals".

Defense lawyers said the payments Percoco received, including $35,000 in cash and a $90,000-per-year job for his wife, were legitimate fees for consulting work performed at a time when he was out of state government.

Howe recounted that he and Percoco, lifting a reference from the mob drama "The Sopranos", used the word "ziti" to refer to bribe money. After the verdict, a message left with Cuomo's spokesman was not immediately returned. State Senator and GOP candidate for Governor John DeFrancisco says testimony and evidence in the trial showed that when Percoco was off the state payroll for most of 2014, and managing Cuomo's re-election campaign, he continued to use his state offices and privileges, making 837 phone calls and meeting with other Cuomo aides.

"By any definition, Albany has a corruption problem", Horner said.

The prosecution took a huge mid-case hit when star witness Todd Howe, a former lobbyist, was arrested after admitting that he tried to scam the Waldorf-Astoria over a $600 hotel bill. "Twelve everyday New Yorkers could cut through all of the confusion and get to the main point, which is that the conduct introduced at trial was not only wrong, it was illegal, and corrupt".

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