Cuomo calls former aide's conviction 'painful'

Sergio Conner
March 13, 2018

Jurors have finished another day of deliberations after a second deadlock.

A former top aide to New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo was convicted Tuesday of collecting $300,000 in cash bribes in a federal case focused on the culture of corruption in Albany.

The Democratic governor says integrity in public service was violated by someone he has known for a long time. "While I am sad for Joe Percoco's young daughters who will have to deal with this pain, I echo the message of the verdict - there is no tolerance for any violation of the public trust". The jury was deadlocked on Kelly's verdict.

Speaking outside the courthouse following the verdict, Percoco's lawyer, Barry Bohrer, said there was "inconsistency in the verdict" and said he would explore appeal options.

The US 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".

Percoco, once described by the governor as his late father Mario's third son, was convicted for solicitation of bribes and two other felony counts. Fellow upstate businessman Joseph Gerardi was cleared of three counts, and a mistrial was declared for energy executive Peter Galbraith Kelly.

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The verdict against Joseph Percoco is the highest-profile federal corruption conviction in NY since the 2015 convictions of two former leading state legislators, which were later overturned.

The two top former legislative leaders face retrial on corruption charges, and officials involved in Cuomo's signature Buffalo Billion economic development program go to court in the spring.

U.S. District Judge Valerie Caproni told the jury to keep deliberating.

There was testimony about administration officials using private e-mail 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 reelection campaign.

The almost six-week trial took an unexpected turn in early February when the prosecutors' star witness, former Cuomo aide Todd Howe, was arrested after admitting on the witness stand that he had violated his cooperation agreement.

"Your Honor, we have reached a verdict", read a note sent out Tuesday at 11:42 a.m. "Thanks!"

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