Joseph Percoco, a former top aide and longtime confidant to New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D.), has been found guilty of three counts in his federal corruption trial.
Percoco was accused of accepting more than $300,000 in bribes from two companies with state business, the New York Times reported.
The Times notes the former aide 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." On Tuesday, he was found not guilty of extortion and conspiracy to commit extortion, and he was convicted of conspiracy to commit honest services fraud, conspiracy to commit honest services wire fraud, and solicitation of bribes and gratuities.
The trial painted an unflattering portrait of Mr. Percoco and more broadly of the inner workings of the state Capitol, one replete with expensive fishing trips, clubby nicknames and "magic phone calls" that could make or break multimillion-dollar contracts.
"Percoco sold out his vast power, he sold out his influence and he betrayed the people of New York," a prosecutor, David Zhou, said in his closing arguments.
Steve Aiello and Joseph Gerardi, two of Percoco's co-defendants, were acquitted on almost all counts, but Aiello was convicted of conspiracy to commit honest services wire fraud.
The jury could not reach a unanimous decision on one count for Peter Galbraith Kelly Jr., the fourth defendant in the case.
Aiello and Gerardi face charges in another upcoming trial involving another former Cuomo ally, Alain E. Kaloyeros. Kaloyeros, the former president of the State University’s Polytechnic Institute, faces charges involving bid-rigging in "Buffalo Billion," Cuomo’s signature upstate economic development project.
New York Republicans have pointed to Percoco's trial as evidence of a corrupt culture in Albany that Cuomo tolerated or even encouraged.
The governor had once described Percoco as his father's "third son."