Joseph Percoco, ex-aide to Gov. Andrew Cuomo, convicted in corruption trial

Efrain Diaz Figueroa right walks by his sisters home destroyed in the passing of Hurricane Maria in San Juan Puerto Rico Monday Oct. 9 2017

Joseph Percoco, ex-aide to Gov. Andrew Cuomo, convicted in corruption trial

Joseph Percoco, 47, was found guilty on Tuesday of two counts of conspiracy to commit honest services wire fraud and one count of soliciting bribes. One guilty verdict was linked to Percoco's schoolteacher wife, Lisa, who was hired by Kelly to a $90,000-per-year low-show job.

At the height of his influence, Mr. Percoco, whom Mr. 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 Mr. Cuomo's political rivals to making sure chairs and thermostats were in order for the governor's public appearances.

The jury deadlocked on the two counts against Kelly.

Percoco served as the governor's deputy executive secretary from 2011 to 2014, and again in 2015 after a break to run his re-election campaign.

In one scheme, Kelly gave Percoco's schoolteacher wife the job at his then-company, Competitive Power Ventures.

The verdict followed five weeks of testimony on charges that Percoco, 48, of South Salem, got over $300,000 in bribes set up by lobbyist Todd Howe, the star government witness, from co-defendants Peter Galbraith Kelly, an energy executive, and Steve Aiello and Joe Gerardi, Syracuse developers.

According to prosecutors, Percoco lined his pockets with kickbacks in two separate bribery schemes.

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Governor Cuomo was accused of no wrongdoing but he loomed large over the trial, with several current and former Cuomo officials called to testify.

In closing arguments, prosecutors cited emails in which Percoco and Howe used the word "ziti" to describe money that was changing hands, saying the men borrowed it from the HBO mob drama "The Sopranos". Mr. Aiello and Mr. Gerardi also face charges in that trial.

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.

It led the government to have his bail revoked midway through his seven days on the witness stand.

Prosecutors said the unusual arrangement was a sign of efforts to cover up the payments that reflected their corrupt nature.

Aiello, a top executive at Cor Development, was convicted of one felony count after paying Percoco $35,000 in exchange for favors including his help redeveloping Syracuse's Inner Harbor and obtaining a raise for Aiello's son, who worked for Cuomo.

Gerardi and Aiello said Howe hired Percoco on his own without their knowledge, and they never entered into a corrupt quid-pro-quo deal.

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