Ex-Cuomo aide convicted in bribery case

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A former top aide to Gov. Andrew Cuomo has been convicted on three felony corruption charges.

The jury indicated to the court that it had reached a verdict after earlier in the day asking whether it could reach a partial verdict.

The verdict followed a multi-week trial that put a spotlight on the attempts of private companies to gain influence with Cuomo, a Democrat who once likened Percoco to a brother.

Prosecutors argued he accepted more than $300,000 in bribes, most in the form of a job for his wife.

Two executives from the Syracuse area firm COR Development, Steven Aiello and Joseph Gerardi, were acquitted of most of the charges they faced connected to allegations they paid bribes to Percoco, though Aiello was convicted of conspiracy to commit honest services wire fraud. The U.S. Attorney's office didn't immediately announce whether it would seek a retrial. Percoco thanked his family for standing by him.

"I am disappointed. We're going to consider our options and move forward", Percoco told reporters afterward.

"Percoco sold out his vast power, he sold out his influence and he betrayed the people of NY", a prosecutor, David Zhou, said in his closing arguments.

Using Howe's testimony and an extensive record of emails, prosecutors showed Percoco's increasingly urgent pleas to Howe - another longtime confidant of the Cuomos - for "ziti", a term for cash payments that Percoco borrowed from HBO's mafia drama "The Sopranos".

Governor Cuomo was accused of no wrongdoing but he loomed large over the trial, with several current and former Cuomo officials called to testify. They also alleged he accepted $35,000 in cash.

The prosecution also showed how Percoco continued to use his state office and flex his muscle even after he'd supposedly resigned in 2014 to work on the governor's campaign full-time.

Cuomo, in a statement, said he finds the verdict "personally painful" because he has known Percoco for a long time.

Howe, who pleaded guilty to numerous crimes after cooperating with prosecutors, became a focus of the trial when he admitted violating his deal with prosecutors by improperly trying to recover the cost of a night at a luxury Manhattan hotel from a credit card company.

Good-government groups called on Cuomo and lawmakers to take action now to strengthen oversight of government contracting and boost ethics enforcement. The people of NY deserve better.

It led the government to have his bail revoked midway through his seven days on the witness stand. The jury found Percoco received $35,000 in bribes in exchange for helping the company beat back a labor agreement and get reimbursed for funds owed to them by the state.

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.