On Monday, March 12, the jury tasked with determining the validity of the corruption charges against former aide to Governor Andrew Cuomo Joseph Percoco said for the second time that they are deadlocked and cannot reach a unanimous decision.
In Manhattan Federal Court, at 9:35am Monday morning, just 20 minutes after jurors arrived, a note was read saying, “After considering the facts and the evidence with open minds, and using your instructions as a roadmap, we remain unable to reach a unanimous verdict.”
However, Judge Valerie Caproni would not take no verdict as an answer. After prosecutors and defense lawyers discussed the note with the Judge, she ordered the jury to keep trying to reach a decision.
On Tuesday morning, March 13, the jury returned to continue deliberations, then to everyone’s surprise the jurors soon came back with a unanimous guilty verdict on three counts. Percoco was found guilty on two counts of conspiracy to commit honest-services fraud for his part in two “pay-to-play” scams that earned him over $300,000 from executives at two companies doing business with the state.
The Post reports, “But while Percoco was convicted of soliciting bribes from the Competitive Power Ventures energy company, he was acquitted of a similar charge involving the Syracuse-based COR Development Co. He also was acquitted of two extortion raps in both schemes.”
Percoco’s sentencing is scheduled for June 15 and he could end up serving as much as 50 years in prison.
He came extremely close to getting off with a mistrial, as Caproni told lawyers that she would not force the jurors to continue deliberations if they came back for a third time deadlocked.
The trial was entering its eight week, when it was initially expected to only last a month to six weeks.
Thursday, March 1, was when the jury began its deliberations. However, storms and shortened schedules have resulted in jurors having considered the case for only around 36 hours, as of Monday March 12.
Percoco is accused of taking over $300,000 in bribes from three separate businessmen, in exchange for assisting them in getting contracts from the state.
On January 22, in Manhattan Federal Court, Percoco went on trial along with those business executives, , Peter Galbraith Kelly, Steven Aiello and Joseph Gerardi.
By Hannah Hayes