Joe Percoco, who once served as a top aide to Gov. Andrew Cuomo, is being tried in federal court (along with other defendants) for allegedly accepting over $300,000 in bribes and pressuring a person with business before the state to give his wife a lucrative “low-show” job.
Percoco has been described as the Governor’s close friend, his confidant, his right-hand man, and his enforcer. Once, Gov. Cuomo called Percoco “‘my father’s third son, who I sometimes think he loved the most.’” While the Governor has not been charged with wrongdoing, political observers are watching the trial with interest to see what information it may reveal regarding New York’s chief executive.
Thus far, the trial hasn’t painted a pretty picture. According to Politico.com, the testimony of Todd Howe—described as “a former stalwart Albany lobbyist and Cuomo fundraiser who has pleaded guilty to eight felonies”—and “other Cuomo administration employees [showed] that lobbyists, clients with business before the state and administration officials would use personal email to do state business, dodging disclosure requirements and corresponding regularly with lobbyists who’d never registered with the state…” Politico.com further reports that Percoco had encouraged others to contact him through his personal e-mail account regarding government business, and that the Governor’s office has falsely claimed that the Governor’s staffers do not use personal e-mail for state business. In addition, testimony has shown that Percoco illegally used the Governor’s state office to do campaign work for the Governor during a period when Percoco was not even a state employee.
Why the secret communications? Why the close relationships with shady power brokers? What does the Cuomo administration have to hide? And how much did the Governor know about the corruption that occurred on his watch?