Guilty verdict for Percoco leaves Cuomo looking awful

Ex-Cuomo aide convicted on corruption charges

Modal Trigger Joseph Percoco Umar Abbasi

Percoco, a longtime aide to not only Andrew Cuomo but also to his father, the late Gov. Mario Cuomo, was convicted on two counts of "honest services" fraud and one of soliciting a bribe for essentially using his access and influence to pocket bribes and win state contracts and permits for campaign contributors.

When the verdict was returned, jurors convicted Percoco on two honest-services-fraud charges and one solicitation-of-bribes-and-gratuity charge.

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.

Co-defendant Joseph Gerardi was acquitted of all three counts, according to NY1. "Despite all his progressive rhetoric, this trial proved conclusively that, for a price, the rich and powerful get special treatment in the Cuomo administration".

Percoco was accused of accepting more than $300,000 in bribes from two companies with state business, the New York Times reported.

Defense lawyers said the payments were legitimate fees for consulting work performed when Percoco was out of state government.

When asked if he was disappointed by the verdict, Percoco responded in the affirmative and noted that he will look into appealing it.

"There was no charge against him but obviously it's going to have some negative impact because it occurred on his watch and by somebody extremely close to the governor and the [Cuomo] family", said Doug Muzzio, a Baruch College political scientist.

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Aiello's attorney, Stephen Coffey, called the verdict against his client "confused" and said he would file a motion to set it aside.

He enjoyed vast power, in other words - and, as prosecutor David Zhou said, he "sold out his influence" to the highest bidders.

And in June, another former Cuomo ally, Alain E. Kaloyeros, will stand trial in a case that may cast further unflattering light on the governor's administration.

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. That may indicate that the jury has reached a decision on at least some of the allegations.

When Percoco was first indicted, Cuomo said it was a "profoundly sad situation for me personally" and that the justice system "must take its course".

"The verdict demonstrated that these ideals have been violated by someone I knew for a long time", he said.

Cuomo's statement on Tuesday said that "we must learn from what happened and put additional safeguards in place to secure the public trust".

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