U.S. Supreme Court To Hear Ex-Cuomo Aide’s Appeal Of Bribery Conviction

U.S. Supreme Court To Hear Ex-Cuomo Aide’s Appeal Of Bribery Conviction

The U.S. Supreme Court on Thursday agreed to hear a bid by a former aide to New York state ex-Governor Andrew Cuomo to overturn his bribery conviction on the basis that influential private citizens cannot be prosecuted on public corruption charges.

The justices took up an appeal by Joseph Percoco, who was convicted in 2018 in Manhattan federal court on bribery and conspiracy charges for taking payments from an energy company executive and two real estate developers seeking favorable treatment for their projects. Prosecutors called him Cuomo’s “right-hand-man.”

The New York-based 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld Percoco’s conviction on appeal. Percoco argued that because he was managing Cuomo’s campaign at the time, he was not employed by the state and thus did not owe a fiduciary duty to the public. Percoco previously served as Cuomo’s executive deputy secretary. He managed Cuomo’s re-election campaign in 2014.

In a Feb. 17 petition to the Supreme Court, Percoco’s lawyers said the 2nd Circuit’s decision posed a threat to the constitutional right to free speech and opened the floodgates to prosecution of legal lobbying activity.

The court also took up an appeal brought by Buffalo-based developer Louis Ciminelli, who was convicted of wire fraud as part of the same sprawling case.

Steven Aiello and Joseph Gerardi, the real estate developers accused of paying bribes have appeals pending at the court. Aiello was convicted on one count of conspiracy, while Gerardi was acquitted. Former state university official Alain Kaloyeros, the former head of State University of New York (SUNY) Polytechnic who was convicted of wire fraud in connection with the scheme, also has an appeal pending

Cuomo, a Democrat, was not charged in the scheme. He resigned in 2021 following an inquiry that found he sexually harassed 11 women, though he denied wrongdoing.

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Last Update: Thu, 30 Jun 22 12:24:08