Ex-aide to N.Y. gov­er­nor guilty of fraud

Arkansas Democrat-Gazette - - NATIONAL -

NEW YORK — Ju­rors con­victed a for­mer top aide to Gov. An­drew Cuomo on fed­eral bribery and fraud charges Tues­day in a trial that pros­e­cu­tors said ex­posed the state cap­i­tal’s cul­ture of back­room deal-mak­ing.

Joseph Per­coco, who was once likened to a brother by the Demo­cratic gov­er­nor, faces up to 20 years in prison for his con­vic­tion on con­spir­acy to com­mit hon­est ser­vices wire fraud and so­lic­it­ing bribes. Ju­rors who de­lib­er­ated off and on for three weeks ac­quit­ted Per­coco of ex­tor­tion and one of the bribery charges he had faced.

The jury also con­victed one of the busi­ness­men charged with pay­ing the bribes, Steven Aiello, an ex­ec­u­tive at a Syra­cuse-area de­vel­op­ment com­pany, Cor De­vel­op­ment. A sec­ond ex­ec­u­tive with the com­pany, Joseph Ger­ardi, was ac­quit­ted.

The jury dead­locked and a mis­trial was de­clared in the case of a fourth de­fen­dant, en­ergy com­pany ex­ec­u­tive Peter Gal­braith Kelly. The U.S. at­tor­ney’s of­fice didn’t im­me­di­ately say whether it would seek a re­trial.

Pros­e­cu­tors said Per­coco and his fam­ily ac­cepted more than $300,000 in bribes, in­clud­ing a $90,000-a-year job for Per­coco’s wife, to clear hur­dles with the state to build power plants.

AP/MARY ALTAFFER

Joseph Per­coco (right), a for­mer top aide to Gov. An­drew Cuomo, faces re­porters’ ques­tions Tues­day out­side fed­eral court in New York.

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