Former Cuomo Aide Percoco Convicted On Corruption Charges

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A former top aide to New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has been convicted of accepting bribes.

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.

Percoco was then expected to help Kelly, 54, land a financing deal for a controversial Hudson Valley power plant worth some $100 million, prosecutors said. The other scheme involved a Syracuse-based developer that had received contracts under Governor Cuomo's economic development programs. Aiello was found guilty on Tuesday of one count of conspiracy, while Gerardi was acquitted of all charges, Dawn Dearden, a spokeswoman for the prosecutors, said.

Steve Aiello and Joseph Gerardi, two of Percoco's co-defendants, were acquitted on nearly all counts, but Aiello was convicted of conspiracy to commit honest services wire fraud. The jury found COR development company founder Steven Aiello guilty on one count of bribery.

As a confidant to Governor Cuomo, who once compared him to a brother, Percoco had enormous influence in state government.

The jury said it couldn't reach a unanimous decision on a fourth defendant in the case, energy company executive Peter Galbraith Kelly.

U.S. District Judge Valerie Caproni told the jury to keep deliberating.

Cuomo's political opponents seized on the verdict. The governor and his campaign have refused to respond to reporters' questions emerging from the trial, including queries about Percoco's apparently open use of his Executive Chamber office during an eight-month period in 2014 when he had ostensibly resigned from his official post to run Cuomo's first re-election campaign.

Aiello, 59, and Gerardi, 58, were charged with heaping some $35,000 in bribes on Percoco in exchange for favors - such as landing a raise for Aiello's son, a Cuomo staffer.

Reformers, including Blair Horner with the New York Public Interest Research Group, say they hope the verdict will finally spur Cuomo and lawmakers to fix flaws in the system that led to the conviction.

The trial was the latest in a long line of corruption allegations to emerge from Albany in recent years. The prosecution said ziti was code for bribe money, while Percoco's attorney said it was just banter among friends, and a distraction from the real issues in the case. One other notable state official, who will go on trial later this year, is former SUNY Poly President Alain Kaloyeros.

Percoco, his face flushed and his demeanor dour, was found guilty by a deeply-divided jury that sent out surprising word of its verdict at 11:42 a.m. after twice announcing they were at an impasse.

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