NEW YORK (NEWS10) – Thursday, the corruption trial of one of Governor Cuomo’s former top aids Joseph Percoco is in the hands of the jury.
Today the jury began deliberating this case.
They have their work cut out for them, giving over the charges for each defendant, charges that include bribery, extortion and corruption.
For nearly five weeks, prosecutors have outlined an alleged bribery and corruption scheme carried out by Joseph Percoco.
The once third in command of the state, they contend, used code words like “ziti” to demand bribes from his three co-defendants, company executives seeking state grants.
After they paid, prosecutors allege, Percoco fixed nearly every issue they had.
But his attorney, Barry Bohrer argues Joe Percoco merely set up meetings as a favor for a few friends; which isn’t a crime.
“The evidence is totally lacking in terms of supporting the actual charges here. To resort to references to things like ziti and popular television shows and make the kind of insinuations they did, we just thought was inappropriate,” Bohrer said.
Percoco is accused of taking more than $300,000 in bribes from three business executives, bribes they allegedly disguised through payments to Percoco’s wife Lisa and former lobbyist Todd Howe.
Howe is facing 130 years in prison for his involvement in the alleged scheme, which he detailed on the stand as a prosecution witness.
The defense has attacked Howe’s credibility, claiming he has lied and cheated to get a better deal with the government.
“Everything that Mr. Howe touched was colored by his lack of credibility and that was the point we hoped we got across to the jury,” Bohrer said.
The jury had a question during deliberations, about an extortion count.
Remember, earlier this week the judge already threw out an extortion county because Joe Percoco wasn’t considered a public official at the time of the alleged crime.