Ex-Top Aide to Cuomo in Discussion With Feds for Possible Plea Agreement: NBC News - NBC New York

Chief Investigative Reporter Jonathan Dienst on crime, corruption and terrorism.

Ex-Top Aide to Cuomo in Discussion With Feds for Possible Plea Agreement: NBC News

There are no allegations of wrongdoing against the governor

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    Ex-Top Aide to Cuomo in Discussion With Feds for Possible Plea Agreement: NBC News
    AP

    What to Know

    • An attorney for Joseph Percoco, Cuomo's former executive deputy secretary, says his client is innocent

    • He resigned as Cuomo's executive deputy in 2014 to lead Cuomo's re-election campaign, rejoined the team and quit again in 2015

    • According to state financial disclosures, Percoco made as much as $125,000 by becoming a consultant for COR Development and CHA Consulting

    A recently arrested former top aide to Gov. Andrew Cuomo is in discussions with federal prosecutors for a possible plea agreement, according to court filings, although the man's attorney disputes that. 

    A court order filed in federal court in Manhattan Tuesday afternoon revealed the government is in discussions with Joseph Percoco and several others recently arrested and charged in connection to a bribery and corruption probe.

    The magistrate judge assigned to the case noted that federal prosecutors "have been engaged, and continue to be engaged in, discussions concerning possible dispositions in this case with counsel for the defendants."

    In other words, a plea agreement.

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    A former top adviser who Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo once likened to a brother was among eight men arrested Thursday in a bribery and fraud case that threatens to tarnish Cuomo's efforts to spur the upstate economy and darken a reputation that until now has been spared from a federal prosecutor's anti-corruption crusade. Melissa Russo reports.
    (Published Thursday, Sept. 22, 2016)

    But Percoco's lawyer, Barry Bohrer, said in an email, "Any suggestion is negotiating a possible plea deal is unfounded. There have been no such discussions." 

    He could not explain why the court documents suggest otherwise, or why his client was granted an extension on a first appearance if he was not in talks with prosecutors. 

    Percoco served as Cuomo's deputy executive secretary, acting as his gatekeeper, and ran his re-election campaign in 2014, according to a complaint filed in federal court. Percoco left the governor's office in January.

    The charges stem from state-funded projects incubated by the State University of New York Polytechnic Institute, designed to take advantage of Cuomo's $1 billion program to revitalize the economy of Buffalo, New York.

    In two schemes, the government says, Percoco and his wife allegedly took $315,000 in bribes.

    At the time of his arrest Percoco's attorney, Barry Bohrer, said in a statement that the case "is an overreach of classic proportions."

    Cuomo: 'I Want People to Have Total Confidence' in Administration Amid Buffalo Billions Probe

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    (Published Tuesday, May 17, 2016)

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