For­mer top Cuomo aide Per­coco head­ing to pri­son next week

The Buffalo News - - WEATHER - By Tom Pre­cious NEWS AL­BANY BUREAU CHIEF

AL­BANY – A fed­eral ap­peals court has re­jected a bid by Joseph Per­coco, a for­mer top aide and long­time friend of Gov. An­drew M. Cuomo, to re­main out of pri­son while he ap­peals his 2018 cor­rup­tion con­vic­tion.

Per­coco on Thurs­day was or­dered to re­port to a fed­eral pri­son no later than March 14 to be­gin serv­ing a six-year sen­tence for trad­ing the power of his state po­si­tion in the Cuomo ad­min­is­tra­tion for more than $300,000 in bribe pay­ments.

Per­coco, who has been a cam­paign chair­man for Cuomo’s po­lit­i­cal ef­forts, was con­victed last year in a case that orig­i­nally was a part of the Buf­falo Bil­lion cor­rup­tion probe. A Westch­ester County res­i­dent, Per­coco was con­sid­ered Cuomo’s most trusted ad­viser for years – help­ing the Demo­cratic gov­ern­ment with la­bor prob­lems, re­la­tions with leg­is­la­tors and even Cuomo’s per­sonal fi­nances.

The 2nd Cir­cuit Court of Ap­peals in Man­hat­tan had given Per­coco a brief de­lay in go­ing to pri­son – he was due to re­port March 1 – when it granted a tem­po­rary stay on Feb. 22 to con­sider whether he could re­main free dur­ing his ap­peals process. On Thurs­day morn­ing, court pa­pers were filed va­cat­ing the tem­po­rary stay and or­der­ing Per­coco to re­port to pri­son next week.

Repub­li­cans have been try­ing un­suc­cess­ful­lyto get a state ethics agency to launch an in­ves­ti­ga­tion into why Per­coco was per­mit­ted to keep us­ing his state of­fice in Man­hat­tan af­ter he left his state post to run the gov­er­nor’s 2014 re­elec­tion cam­paign. The un­usual ar­range­ment was dis­closed dur­ing his fed­eral trial last year in a lower Man­hat­tan court­room; Cuomo of­fi­cials have main­tained that Per­coco was in­volved in “tran­si­tion” work in the state of­fice, lo­cated just steps away from Cuomo’s of­fice in mid-town Man­hat­tan.

Cuomo once re­ferred to Per­coco as his “brother.”

The three-judge ap­peals court on Thurs­day did grant a re­quest by Syra­cuse de­vel­oper Steven Aiello, founder of Cor De­vel­op­ment, to re­main out of pri­son dur­ing his ap­peals process. Aiello was con­victed in two sep­a­rate tri­als last year, in­clud­ing the Buf­falo Bil­lion trial fea­tur­ing Buf­falo de­vel­oper Louis Ciminelli, of en­gag­ing in a bribery scheme.

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