Joseph Percoco

Peter Haskell/WCBS 880

Judge Tells Jurors In Percoco Trial To Keep Trying

March 12, 2018 - 7:21 pm

NEW YORK (WCBS 880) -- The judge in the bribery trial of Joseph Percoco – a former top aide to Gov. Andrew Cuomo – told jurors on Monday to keep trying after they again said they were unable to reach a verdict.

In a note to the judge Monday, the jurors wrote that they had “struck out” after considering the facts and the evidence with open minds.

Jurors also said they were hopelessly divided last Tuesday.

The jury wrapped up for the day Monday without reaching a verdict, and will return to court Tuesday.

Prosecutors allege Percoco received $320,000 from three businessmen in exchange for favors he could give them in his role as an aide to Cuomo. The payments were made to Percoco’s wife.

Email references to "ziti" were presented as evidence during the five-week trial. The expression comes from “The Sopranos” and is meant to indicate a payoff of some kind.

The prosecutor argued that Percoco took payments for official action, but the defense claims that any and all payments were legitimate and any actions Percoco took were simply to help his friends.

The emails were interpreted by Todd Howe, the government’s star witness. The defense called Howe a pathological liar, and the witness all but admitted to the claim.

Percoco said he is innocent, and Cuomo is not accused of any wrongdoing.