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Ex-aide to New York Governor Cuomo found guilty of taking bribes

Ex-aide to New York Governor Cuomo found guilty of taking bribes

He will be sentenced on June 11.

Jurors in the long corruption trial of former aide and close friend to Governor Cuomo, Joseph Percoco, have rendered a partial verdict in his trial. The jury found COR development official Steve Aiello guilty on one count of bribery, but his business partner Joseph Girardi was found not guilty on any of the charges.

Howe's performance was also the government's greatest liability: His testimony was interrupted by his being taken into federal custody after he admitted under cross-examination to attempting to bilk his credit card company out of the $600 cost of a night's stay at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel in Manhattan just weeks after signing a cooperation agreement that required him to stop committing crimes.

Percoco was indicted on bribery and conspiracy charges in November 2016. The jury said it couldn't reach a unanimous decision on a fourth defendant in the case, energy company executive Peter Galbraith Kelly.

In a mixed verdict, Percoco was convicted on three counts and acquitted of three counts.




Kelly was accused of arranging a low-show job for Percoco's wife that ended up paying her $280,000 over three years and seeking Percoco's help with power plants they were building in Orange County and New Jersey. With ties dating back to Gov. Mario Cuomo, he was described as akin to a brother of Andrew Cuomo, his right-hand man and his chief political enforcer. Zhou asked. "The government didn't choose Todd Howe as a witness".

The trial painted an unflattering portrait of Percoco and more broadly of the inner workings of the state Capitol, one replete with expensive fishing trips, clubby nicknames and "magic phone calls" that could make or break multimillion-dollar contracts.

The ex-lobbyist also told jurors about Cuomo's attendance at a fundraiser in a showroom full of Corvettes to raise $125,000 in untraceable contributions, while prosecutors offered evidence that Percoco exercised power and was allowed to use his state office near the governor even after quitting the government to run Cuomo's re-election campaign. Prosecutors made much of Percoco's use of the word "ziti" in emails to claim he knew he was accepting bribes.

Howe's credibility was the centerpiece of the case, as defense lawyers challenged the credibility of a witness who admitted that he had been a chronic deadbeat for much of his life who cheated countless creditors, embezzled almost $1 million from his law firm, and had also been convicted of bank theft for kiting a check. It led the government to have his bail revoked midway through his seven days on the witness stand.

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. Lawyers for Aiello, Gerardi and Kelly could not immediately be reached.


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