Local State Lawmakers React To Percoco Guilty Verdict

Local State Lawmakers React To Percoco Guilty Verdict

During his years of service for Cuomo - including work at the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Renewal during the Clinton administration, at the state Attorney General's office and finally in the Executive Chamber - Percoco was the governor's backstage fixer, whether the task at hand was a late-night call to a recalcitrant lawmaker or arranging the dignitaries sitting behind the governor at a bill signing. Percoco has been found guilty of two counts of conspiracy and guilty on one count of solicitation of a bribe. The jury also convicted one of the businessmen charged with paying the bribes, Steven Aiello, an executive at a Syracuse area development company, Cor Development.

The verdict followed a trial that shined a sometimes harsh spotlight on the Cuomo administration, and the governor must also steel himself for the June trial of a companion case focused on SUNY official Alain Kaloyeros and corruption in upstate development projects that could further complicate his re-election campaign. And it could not reach a verdict on two counts against one of Percoco's co-defendants, an executive accused of bribing him in exchange for official actions. Percoco's lawyer could not immediately be reached for comment. The U.S. Attorney's office didn't immediately announce whether it would seek a retrial.

Percoco thanked his family for standing by him.

The U.S. Attorney for Manhattan, Geoffrey Berman, said in a statement that Percoco had sold "his sacred obligation to honestly and faithfully serve the citizens of NY". Prosecutors made much of Percoco's use of the word "ziti" in emails to claim he knew he was accepting bribes.

Kelly was charged with providing Percoco's wife, Lisa Toscano Percoco, with a $90,000-per-year job with a CPV educational program - a salary that, according to trial testimony, she performed little work for, and that was paid through an obscure Connecticut-based firm in order to hide her employment from public view. Cuomo was not accused of wrongdoing. Percoco had taken a leave from government to run Gov. Andrew Cuomo's campaign at the time of the alleged offense.

Cuomo has repeatedly declined to weigh in on the trial, saying he wanted to let the legal process play out. 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.

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.

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

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