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Ex-Cuomo Aide From Westchester's $300K Bribery Trial Starts

Joseph Percoco of South Salem was named in a criminal corruption case.
Joseph Percoco of South Salem was named in a criminal corruption case. Photo Credit: File photo

The trial of Northern Westchester resident Joseph Percoco, a former top aide to New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo who is facing federal corruption charges that claim he allegedly threatened state employees began Monday with jury selection.

Prosecutors claim that at “on at least three occasions, between 2011 and 2016, while employed as the Executive Deputy Secretary to the Governor, and on at least two occasions during his employment by the Cuomo Campaign, Percoco threatened at least four New York State employees who were considering leaving their current jobs or state service entirely, by claiming that Percoco would use his extensive influence in New York State to prevent them from finding future employment,” according to court documents.

Last year, Percoco ,a South Salem resident, was indicted on corruption charges that allege he accepted more than $300,000 in bribes to benefit Competitive Power Ventures, an energy company that sought to build a power plant in the Hudson Valley, and COR Development, a real estate developer that received several sizable state projects.

The bribes from both, which also included $90,000 a year payments to Percoco's wife, were arranged by Todd Howe, another former aide and close friend of Cuomo's, the complaint said.

In a letter filed in court, it is further alleged that Percoco received approximately $27,000 from Clough Harbor and Associates, a client of Howe and significant donor to Cuomo, in exchange for setting up meetings, sending emails and taking other actions on behalf of the company. Percoco left state government in January 2016.

On Monday, he was in court to answer the charges. According to multiple reports, Cuomo will not be asked to testify as a witness, but it could cast a shadow during an election year, when he is expected to seek a third term in office in November.

Executives from COR Development and Competitive Power Ventures have also been named as defendants. Each has pleaded not guilty to the corruption and bribery charges.

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