Published: Sat, February 10, 2018
World | By Paul Elliott

Star witness in Cuomo aide corruption trial arrested

Star witness in Cuomo aide corruption trial arrested

The government's star witness in the corruption trial for Joseph Percoco, a former aide to Gov. Andrew Cuomo, was arrested Monday after admitting during cross-examination by a defense attorney on Thursday that he violated the terms of his cooperation agreement with prosecutors.

During cross-examination by a defense lawyer, Howe admitted Thursday that he lied to his credit card company to get out of paying $600 for a one-night stay at The Waldorf Astoria hotel in Manhattan, where he stayed while he was meeting with prosecutors.

Howe, who admitted to acting as the middleman in the alleged bribery schemes, agreed to testify against Percoco as part of a plea deal.

Howe, an old friend of Percoco's, has pleaded guilty to felony charges and has been cooperating with the government against Percoco and three executives of two firms, COR Development and Competitive Power Ventures, who are also on trial.

Percoco is accused of pocketing some $300,000 in bribes.

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Howe admitted he lied to the credit card company about a stay in NY at the time he was cooperating with federal prosecutors in the corruption case.

The former lobbyist also conceded the questioning in Manhattan federal court forced him to realize he'd violated the terms of his cooperation agreement with the feds.

Percoco is accused of pocketing some $300,000 in bribes
Percoco is accused of pocketing some $300,000 in bribes

The Manhattan U.S. Attorney's Office on Thursday asked that Howe's $100,000 bond be revoked and that an arrest warrant be issued, according to a recently unsealed court document.

"I don't recall, but I'm sure if you said I did, I did", Howe said.

"Do you think they are going to rip it up?"

Prosecutors have been candid about the questions concerning Howe's credibility.

He acknowledged, for example, that in applying for a disability insurance policy in 2014, he checked a box stating that he had never been convicted of a felony, even though that was not true.

Gitner asked whether Howe thought the prosecutors would throw out his cooperation agreement in light of his admissions.

Howe was read his rights at a brief presentment on Friday, where a March 2 hearing was scheduled to determine how the apparent violation of his cooperation agreement may affect his case.

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