NEW YORK (NEWS10) – The prosecution started calling witnesses to the stand Tuesday afternoon in the trial for Joseph Percoco, Steven Aiello, Joseph Gerardi, and Peter Galbraith Kelly, all men accused in a massive bribery and corruption scheme.
The charges against Percoco, who is often referred to as Governor Andrew Cuomo’s right-hand man, allege he received hundreds of thousands of dollars from two companies in exchange for his help on a state level.
The first witness, an FBI forensic accountant testified to information from several of Percoco’s bank accounts showing the alleged bribe money coming in.
Before that, the prosecution opening statements detail the alleged scheme between Percoco and an energy company associated with Kelly, as well as another scheme between Percoco and Syracuse based developers Aiello and Gerardi who run COR development.
The prosecution plans to mainly rely on emails to prove its case. Many of those emails refer to the payment as “ziti”, a term taken from the tv show The Sopranos.
Meanwhile, the defense focusing on yet another man, Todd Howe who they say is the real criminal, in this case, saying Percoco and the other defendants dealt with all the money involved legitimately. The defense says Howe is using them to cover his own corrupt tracks.
Howe previously pleaded guilty to charges in exchange working with the government. He’s expected to be their star witness.