Former Cuomo Aide Percoco Convicted On Corruption Charges

Former Cuomo Aide Percoco Convicted On Corruption Charges

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.

Jurors in U.S. District Court in Manhattan found Percoco not guilty of extortion and conspiracy to commit extortion.

As for the others defendants on trial with Percoco; Steven Aiello and Joseph Gerardi, both executives of the Syracuse construction firm COR Development, Aiello was found guilty of conspiracy and not guilty of solicitation of a bribe.

The jury remained deadlocked on charges against a fourth defendant, former power plant executive Peter Galbraith "Braith" Kelly Jr.

Caproni declared a mistrial on those counts.

Reformers, including Blair Horner with the New York Public Interest Research Group, say they hope the verdict will finally spur Cuomo and lawmakers to fix flaws in the system that led to the conviction. He faces up to 20 years in prison. In closing arguments, Assistant U.S. Attorney David Zhou did not apologize for Howe.

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"Percoco sold out his vast power, he sold out his influence and he betrayed the people of NY", a prosecutor, David Zhou, said in his closing arguments. As every schoolchild knows, but he corruptly chose to disregard, government officials who sell their influence to select insiders violate the basic tenets of a democracy.

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

The trial put a harsh spotlight on the attempts of several private companies to gain influence with the Cuomo administration. The governor and his campaign have refused to respond to reporters' questions emerging from the trial, including queries about Percoco's apparently open use of his Executive Chamber office during an eight-month period in 2014 when he had ostensibly resigned from his official post to run Cuomo's first re-election campaign.

[I] n June, another former Cuomo ally, Alain E. Kaloyeros, will stand trial in a case that may cast further unflattering light on the governor's administration. Howe, who pleaded guilty to numerous crimes after cooperating with prosecutors, was arrested again during the trial when he admitted violating his deal with prosecutors by trying to avoid paying a luxury hotel bill.

One of the schemes involved a job for Percoco's wife, where she did little work.

Aiello, a top executive at Cor Development, was convicted of one felony count after paying Percoco $35,000 in exchange for favors including his help redeveloping Syracuse's Inner Harbor and obtaining a raise for Aiello's son, who worked for Cuomo.

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