On March 13, 2018, a federal jury convicted Joe Percoco—a former close advisor of Gov. Andrew Cuomo—of three felonies: “[Conspiracy] to commit honest-services fraud, conspiracy to commit honest-services wire fraud, and solicitation of bribes and gratuities.” The federal government had charged Percoco with accepting $300,000 in bribes. Specifically, evidence revealed that Percoco secured a lucrative “low-show” job for his wife with an energy company that had business before the State of New York. Evidence also revealed other irregularities, such as Percoco’s continued use of state government facilities and resources after he had stepped down from his position as an aide to Gov. Andrew Cuomo. Percoco, whose attorney is reviewing his appeal options, is expected to face prison time.
According to BuffaloNews.com, “[the] verdict represents not just a legal defeat for Percoco, but a political blow to Cuomo after years of portraying his administration as above Albany’s corruption minefield.”
In response to the conviction of his former close ally, Gov. Andrew Cuomo expressed sadness and pivoted to the need for a state ban on outside income for state officials. It is not clear if (or how) Gov. Cuomo envisions that such a law would have prevented Percoco’s illegal conduct.
The Percoco conviction is expected to play a significant role in this year’s gubernatorial campaign.