Percoco found guilty on corruption charges

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A federal jury found Governor Andrew Cuomo's former top aide Joe Percoco guilty on three counts of bribery and conspiracy to commit honest service fraud, in a Manhattan court room on Tuesday.

"Gov. Cuomo's close aide Joseph Percoco was found guilty by a jury of his peers for accepting $300,000 in bribes from companies who had business before the state".

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.

"I think it's very reassuring", said Susan Lerner, who heads the government reform group Common Cause.

"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.

Percoco's three co defendants in the trial were not convicted on any of the charges. The jury found COR development company founder Steven Aiello guilty on one count of bribery.

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. Gerardi was found not guilty of both charges.

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The jury deadlocked and a mistrial was declared in the case of a fourth defendant, energy company executive Peter Galbraith Kelly.

Within minutes of the verdict, good-government groups called on Cuomo and lawmakers to take action this year to strengthen oversight of government contracting and boost ethics enforcement.

The Democratic governor says integrity in public service was violated by someone he has known for a long time.

Andrew Cuomo says the conviction of his former top aide is "personally painful" but he respects the jury's decision.

The almost six-week trial took an unexpected turn in early February when the prosecutors' star witness, former Cuomo aide Todd Howe, was arrested after admitting on the witness stand that he had violated his cooperation agreement.

Add in high-profile retrials of two legislative leaders whose corruption convictions were overturned, and you have something less than an ideal environment for the governor first elected on a pledge to clean up Albany.

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