Cuomo's ex-aide, guilty of 3 felonies in bribery case

Joseph Percoco's close ties to Gov. Andrew Cuomo

Former top Gov. Cuomo aide Joseph Percoco was convicted Tuesday on three corruption charges including bribery - but cleared of extortion and two other raps.

U.S. District Judge Valerie Caproni, presiding on the case from Manhattan, had urged the jury to continue their deliberation after they informed the judge several times that they were deadlocked.

The jury had difficulty coming to an agreement on all ten charges against Percoco, perhaps the highest profile defendant in the federal indictments of New York State officials and contractors doing business with the state.

COR Development executive Steve Aiello was found guilty of one count of conspiracy to commit services fraud. A second executive with the company, Joseph Gerardi, was acquitted on all counts.

Percoco, 48, Cuomo's longtime confidante and the chairman of his 2014 re-election campaign, had pleaded not guilty.

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

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Cuomo was not accused of wrongdoing, but the trial highlighted Albany as a place where deep-pocketed special interests use campaign donations to gain influence and flout rules meant to regulate lobbying.

On Tuesday, Cuomo addressed a Planned Parenthood rally near the state capitol in Albany but left without taking questions from reporters. The term was used in the HBO mob drama "The Sopranos".

Prosecutors said Aiello and Gerardi hoped a $35,000 bribe to Percoco would secure the governor's help to re-develop a state-owned tract of land in Syracuse known as the Inner Harbor.

The jury which had deliberated for over a week, deadlocked on whether the power plant company official, Competitive Power Venture's Peter Galbraith Kelly, committed any crimes.

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.

Aiello and Girardi had been charged with playing Percoco $35,000 funneled through Todd Howe, the disgraced consultant who served as the prosecution's star witness.


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