Ex-Cuomo aide to stand trial Oct. 30

ALBANY - A former top aide to Gov. Andrew Cuomo and the ex-head of a powerful SUNY school will stand trial this fall in a widespread bid-rigging and bribery case.

U.S. District Judge Valerie Caproni set Oct. 30 for the start date of the trial of ex-Cuomo aide Joseph Percoco, former SUNY Polytechnic Institute President Alain Kaloyeros and six developers and business officials, who were all indicted last November.

Caproni set the trial schedule Thursday in Manhattan federal court. The details were confirmed by the U.S. Attorney's Office.

Percoco - whom Cuomo had once likened to a brother -- faces four bribery, extortion and conspiracy charges.

He's accused of accepting $287,000 in bribes from Competitive Power Ventures, a Maryland-based company Maryland-based company building a natural-gas power plant in Orange County, and $35,000 from COR Development, a Syracuse-area developer.

Percoco, of South Salem, Westchester County, was heckled by opponents of the plant outside the courtroom, a video posted on Twitter by a New York Post reporter showed.

"You are guilty of polluting New York. You are guilty of polluting Orange County," a protester shouted at Percoco as he held an umbrella and walked through the rain with his attorneys. "Shame on you."

Kaloyeros, meanwhile, is accused of steering a $750 million contract to build a massive Buffalo solar-panel manufacturing facility to Buffalo-area developer LPCiminelli, as well as $105 million in contracts to Syracuse-based COR Development.

The remaining six defendants were executives with the three companies at the center of the case. Cuomo was not accused of any wrongdoing, and he has said he was unaware of what is alleged.

The trial date could shift for some defendants, depending on a push by some to split the case into two separate trials.

If the case is split, a trial for some of the defendants would begin Oct. 30, with the rest to stand trial beginning Jan. 8.

Federal prosecutors had been pushing for the October trial date, arguing that it would give ample time for both sides to prepare.

Percoco's attorneys, meanwhile, sought an early 2018 trial date, pointing to more than 2 million pages of documents produced by prosecutors during the discovery phase.

The defendants have maintained their innocence.

© Gannett Co., Inc. 2017. All Rights Reserved


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