Crime and Courts

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

NY Cuomo

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.

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."

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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