ALBANY - The corruption case against Gov. Andrew Cuomo's former top aide and allies will stretch on throughout much of his re-election campaign after a federal judge split an upcoming trial in two.
U.S. District Judge Valerie Caproni on Tuesday separated the case into two separate trials, with each focused on a different alleged scheme at the center of the federal case against eight developers, Cuomo aides and allies accused of bribery or bid-rigging.
The first trial will center on bribery charges against former top Cuomo aide and confidante Joseph Percoco.
The second will be focused on alleged bid-rigging connected former SUNY Polytechnic Institute President Alain Kaloyeros and the Buffalo Billion, one of Cuomo's top economic-development programs.
Caproni's order had been expected after the U.S. Attorney's Office in Manhattan had conceded to splitting the trials, which defense attorneys had been pushing for.
"(The) Court concurs with the Government that a discretionary severance is appropriate," Caproni wrote Tuesday.
Caproni's decision creates a significant political headache for Cuomo, who has not been accused of any wrongdoing.
The order ensures the trials will linger throughout much of 2018, when the Democrat will be seeking a third term as governor.
The Percoco trial is slated to begin with jury selection on Jan. 8.
The Buffalo Billion trial will begin no sooner than May 15, according to Caproni's order.
Along with Percoco, Stephen Aiello and Joseph Gerardi -- executives with Syracuse-area company COR Development -- will stand trial in January, along with Peter Kelly, a former executive with CPV Energy, a company seeking to operate a major natural-gas power plant in Orange County.
COR and CPV are accused of bribing Percoco -- a South Salem resident who was Cuomo's closest and longest-running aide -- for his governmental influence.
Kaloyeros, meanwhile, will stand trial with the COR executives and three executives from LPCiminelli, a Buffalo-based developer. Both companies received contracts worth hundreds of millions of dollars from non-profits tied to SUNY Poly and Kaloyeros.