FILE - This April 26, 2013, file photo shows Joseph Percoco, executive deputy secretary for New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo and one of his most loyal advisers, during a news conference in Albany, N.Y. Jury selection begins in New York in Percoco's trial on bribery and extortion charges on Monday, Jan. 22, 2018. (AP Photo/Mike Groll, File)

Prosecutor: Greed motivated Cuomo aide to accept bribes

January 23, 2018 - 10:24 am

NEW YORK (AP) — A prosecutor has told jurors at the start of a trial that a former aide to New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo sold his powerful influence to businessmen willing to pay bribes.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Robert Boone said in his opening statement Tuesday that longtime Cuomo confidante Joseph Percoco acted out of greed.

He says Percoco accepted over $300,000 in bribes, mostly in salary paid to his wife who was hired by a businessman who needed state permits to build an energy plant. He says $35,000 more came from real estate developers.

Percoco's lawyers say their client was paid legally for consulting work when Percoco worked for Cuomo's campaign organization and was not a state employee.

Cuomo, a Democrat, has not been accused of wrongdoing and will probably not testify.

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