Published: Wed, March 14, 2018
Health | By Jay Jacobs

Joseph Percoco convicted of collecting $300G in cash bribes in corruption trial

Joseph Percoco convicted of collecting $300G in cash bribes in corruption trial

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.

A former top aide to Gov. Andrew Cuomo was convicted on corruption charges Tuesday at a trial that further exposed the state capital's culture of backroom deal-making.

Percoco was found guilty of "selling something priceless that was not to his sell - the sacred obligation to honestly and faithfully serve the citizens of NY", said Manhattan U.S. Attorney Geoffrey Berman.

The jury said it couldn't reach a unanimous decision on a fourth defendant in the case, energy company executive Peter Galbraith Kelly.

Jurors informed the court twice that they were deadlocked in the case against Percoco and three businessmen accused of bribing him.

The jury deliberated roughly 40 hours since March 1 to reach its verdict.

Jurors have been deliberating since March 1.

Howe, who pleaded guilty to numerous crimes after cooperating with prosecutors, became a focus of the trial when he admitted violating his deal with prosecutors by improperly trying to recover the cost of a night at a luxury Manhattan hotel from a credit card company.

Prosecutors have said that Kelly bribed Percoco by giving his wife, Lisa Percoco, a mostly no-show job that paid $90,000 a year for three years in an ultimately unsuccessful effort to win favorable treatment from state officials for two power plant projects.

Aiello and Girardi had been charged with playing Percoco $35,000 funneled through Todd Howe, the disgraced consultant who served as the prosecution's star witness.

Percoco began working for the Cuomos as a 19-year-old back when the governor's father, Mario, was the head of NY state government.

Prosecutors, however, presented a portrait of a man desperate for cash to shore up a household that tipped into debt after the Percocos' 2012 move from a humble home on Staten Island to a more elegant house in South Salem, Westchester County.

Howe recounted that he and Percoco, lifting a reference from the mob drama "The Sopranos", used the word "ziti" to refer to bribe money.

There was testimony about administration officials using private email addresses to conduct state business in secret, and about how Percoco continued to work out of a state office even after he was supposed to have left government to lead Cuomo's 2014 re-election campaign.

Cuomo has not been accused of wrongdoing.

"Albany stays on trial", said Blair Horner, executive director of the New York Public Interest Research Group.

Instead, the trial served as a gallery of bad behavior, from the use of limited liability companies to hide the true identities of political donors to administration officials' extensive use of private emails accounts to conduct public business in an apparent effort to avoid transparency.

Like this: