Former Cuomo Aide Percoco Guilty Of Corruption

Former Cuomo Aide Percoco Guilty Of Corruption

Two executives from the Syracuse area firm COR Development, Steven Aiello and Joseph Gerardi, were acquitted of most of the charges they faced connected to allegations they paid bribes to Percoco, though Aiello was convicted of conspiracy to commit honest services wire fraud.

In a split verdict, Gov. Andrew Cuomo's former top aide Joe Percoco was found guilty of committing honest services fraud, conspiracy to commit honest services, and solicitation of bribes and gratuities on Tuesday, two months after the start of a federal trial that cast a cold light on pay-to-play culture in state government.

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

In closing arguments, Assistant U.S. Attorney David Zhou did not apologize for Howe.

Prosecutors say Percoco and his family accepted more than $300,000 in bribes in all.

County Executive Steve Neuhaus, who had asked state agencies to review their permitting decisions after Percoco's arrest in 2016, went further after the jury's verdict, saying the state "should revoke any and all permits" it gave Competitive Power Ventures, the company that built the $900 million plant.

Percoco thanked his family for standing by him.

"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. The government also alleged he accepted $35,000 in cash.

While Cuomo himself was not accused of wrongdoing, testimony also painted an unflattering picture of the inner workings of his office. After the verdict, a message left with Cuomo's spokesman was not immediately returned.

Percoco, 48, Cuomo's longtime confidante and the chairman of his 2014 re-election campaign, had pleaded not guilty.

The trial was the latest in a long line of corruption allegations to emerge from Albany in recent years.

The almost six-week trial took an unexpected turn in early February when the prosecutors' star witness, former Cuomo aide Todd Howe, was arrested after admitting on the witness stand that he had violated his cooperation agreement. Two former powerful leaders in the state, ex-Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, a Democrat, and ex-Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos, a Republican, are scheduled to be retried on corruption charges this year after early convictions were thrown out.

Within minutes of the verdict, good-government groups called on Cuomo and lawmakers to take action this year to strengthen oversight of government contracting and boost ethics enforcement. "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".