Published: Tue, March 13, 2018
Worldwide | By Isabel Fisher

Cuomo on corruption convictions: 'We must learn from what happened'

Cuomo on corruption convictions: 'We must learn from what happened'

Prosecutors say Percoco accepted more than $300,000 in bribes from companies with business before the state, most in the form of a job for his wife. "I am glad that the call for transparency and honesty in government has prevailed in this case".

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo's former top aide Joe Percoco was found guilty on three counts of bribery and conspiracy to commit honest service fraud by a federal jury in Manhattan on Tuesday. NY state is the most corrupt in the nation but certain members of the Legislature seem in no hurry to stomp it out. The jury found him not guilty on three other charges.

They said Aiello and Gerardi paid cash bribes through shell companies to get favorable treatment for development of a parking lot.

Percoco, 48, was found guilty on two wire fraud counts and a single count of solicitation of bribes. The prosecution said ziti was code for bribe money, while Percoco's attorney said it was just banter among friends, and a distraction from the real issues in the case.

Testimony revealed that Percoco's sketchy dealings reached the highest levels of state government even after he departed public service to run Cuomo's 2014 re-election bid from April to December of that year. The term was used in the HBO mob drama "The Sopranos".

At the height of his influence, Percoco, whom Cuomo had once described as his father's "third son", was known as the governor's enforcer, responsible for everything from keeping lawmakers in line and intimidating Cuomo's political rivals to making sure chairs and thermostats were in order for the governor'spublic appearances. They said Kelly hoped Percoco would help Competitive Power Ventures clear regulatory hurdles by paying Percoco's wife $290,000 in salary for a job that required little work. This latter charge could create more legal headaches for both Percoco (and Cuomo) on grounds that he still had access to state offices - and probably influence - when he should not have had either.

Cuomo has not been accused of wrongdoing.

Star federal witness Howe had ties of his own to the governor dating back 30 years. At one point, the key prosecution witness, a long-time lobbyist and supposed bribe-intermediary named Todd Howe, was arrested for credit card fraud, almost blowing up the whole case against Percoco.

Howe also described facilitating campaign donations from Kelly, Aiello and Gerardi to Cuomo.

His reliability was further wounded when his bail was revoked and he was jailed in the middle of his testimony, after appearing to admit on the witness stand to a previously unknown effort to defraud his credit card company.

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