Extras

Joseph Percoco, who spent more than two decades as one of Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s most-trusted aides and closest personal friends, was sentenced to six years in prison and three years of supervised release for accepting more than $300,000 in bribes.

The woman who has accused Judge Brett Kavanaugh of sexual assault, in an apparent bid to jump-start negotiations, has told the Senate Judiciary Committee that she “would be prepared to testify next week,” so long as senators offer “terms that are fair and which ensure her safety.”

U.S. Sens. Mazie Hirono and Kirsten Gillibrand accepted a letter signed by over 1,000 Holton-Arms alumnae in support of and in solidarity with Dr. Christine Blasey Ford, Kavanaugh’s accuser.

Here are several of the most visible false and misleading claims about Dr. Blasey, along with explanations of what’s really happening.

Nearly two dozen protesters opposing Kavanaugh were arrested as activists occupied the offices of key Republican senators.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services is diverting up to $266 million this fiscal year to pay for the detainment of immigrant children, redistributing money previously used for cancer research, other refugee support programs and Head Start.

Drug overdoses killed more than 70,000 people in the US last year — a record — and killed some 600,000 people between 1979 and 2016, according to a new report. If the trend continues, the researchers say, then overdose deaths will double every eight years for the foreseeable future.

CNN’s Chris Cuomo is adding a radio show to his television work. The prime-time host will start his own two-hour radio show next Monday at noon on SiriusXM.

A former federal judge, Barbara Jones, will independently review the procedures that the Archdiocese of New York has in place to handle clergy sexual abuse, Cardinal Timothy Dolan said.

NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio formally approved a plan to diversify schools in Brooklyn’s District 15 by scrapping screened admissions and shifting to a lottery system.

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, the first-time congressional candidate who unseated longtime Rep. Joseph Crowley in a Democratic primary in Queens, says that the U.S. territory of Puerto Rico deserves to be granted “real self-determination” in the wake of two devastating hurricanes last year.

Trump’s lawyer Rudy Giuliani says the president’s legal team likely plans to use executive privilege to block the release of parts of special counsel Robert Mueller’s report on the Russia investigation.

Trump’s former personal attorney, Michael Cohen, has participated over the last month in multiple interview sessions lasting for hours with investigators from the office of special counsel, sources tell ABC News.

The U.S. Senate has approved spending $324.6 million for the Army to buy radars from Lockheed Martin’s plant in suburban Syracuse that track incoming rocket, mortar and artillery fire.

The state Attorney General’s Office will investigate the 2016 death of an Erie County Holding Center inmate who spent her final days babbling on the floor of her cell, laying in her urine.

Marc Molinaro, the Republican candidate for governor, said today he favors replacing the Interstate 81 viaduct in downtown Syracuse with the combination tunnel-street grid approach championed by Sen. John DeFrancisco.

The Adirondack Council released its annual State of the Park report, highlighting many things it believes elected and appointed officials did well for the park in 2018, and some things it thinks still need addressing. It received mixed reviews.

Syracuse Mayor Ben Walsh wants to talk about how we remember Christopher Columbus in his city.

Syracuse University permanently expelled its chapter of Theta Tau in April, but the executive director of the fraternity’s national organization says Theta Tau could return and rebuild a chapter in Syracuse without SU’s recognition.

Buffalo needs a new convention center, and a location near Canalside or an expanded footprint near the existing facility are the two best places to build one, according to a study released today.

Joe Kernan, co-host of CNBC’s “Squawk Box,” took a shot at Buffalo. And Buffalo squawked back.

Brian Wansink, the Cornell University eating-behavior scientist under fire for scientific misconduct allegations, announced he will retire at the end of the academic year – a day before the school planned to announce the results of an investigation it had been conducting into his research — and a day after six of his papers were retracted, giving him a total of 13 retractions.

Percoco Sentenced To Six Years In Prison

Joe Percoco, the former close aide and confidant to one governor and a “third son” to another was sentenced to six years in prison on Thursday after he was found guilty of accepting kickbacks earlier this year.

Percoco was found guilty earlier in the year in his fraud trial of receiving bribes in exchange for using his influence to aid the development of the facility for Competitive Power Ventures.

Percoco and a range of prominent figures in New York politics had sought leniency for him during sentencing, but ultimately Judge Valerie Caproni determined the former top aide to Gov. Andrew Cuomo had sought to enrich himself through bribes and a “low-show” job for his wife.

The corruption trial for Percoco was just one of several this year highlighting the unseemly ways of doing business in state government.

In a parallel case, prominent upstate developers and the former president of SUNY Polytechnic were found guilty of bid rigging for contracts in the Buffalo Billion economic development program which has been backed by Cuomo as a way of reviving the western New York economy.

And the former top legislative leaders in the Assembly and Senate, Democrat Sheldon Silver and Republican Dean Skelos, were both found guilty in their separate corruption cases that had been retried after the Supreme Court altered its theft of honest services definition.

Percoco had played a key and public role for Cuomo over the decades, working with him in the attorney general’s office and the governor’s office as well as a super-advance man on his campaigns. Percoco, while seen as an enforcer for Cuomo, was also a listener, serving as the eyes and ears for the governor with the Legislature. He was often spotted on the third floor of the Capitol speaking with lawmakers during budget or end-of-session negotiations.

In a 2014 memoir, Cuomo referred to Percoco as “my father’s third son” who also served as a sympathetic ear during his divorce from Kerry Kennedy following a disastrous run for governor in 2002.

Cuomo has expressed sadness at case of his former close aid, but has also insisted he was unaware of the outside work being done by Percoco at the time and that he should face punishment. Cuomo himself has not been accused of any wrongdoing.

“I was an Assistant District Attorney and Attorney General, and the rule of law is paramount,” Cuomo said in a statement. “Joe Percoco is paying the price for violating the public trust. And it should serve as a warning to anyone who fails to uphold his or her oath as a public servant. On a personal level, the human tragedy for Joe’s young children and family is a very sad consequence.”

Republican candidate for governor Marc Molinaro nevertheless has sought to link Cuomo to the scandals in the halls of the Capitol.

“Andrew Cuomo was sentenced today — he just doesn’t have to do the time,” Molinaro said. “He came into office promising reform and ended up turning New York State government into a corrupt, taxpayer-paid enterprise that works only to further his presidential ambitions”

Earlier in the day, Cuomo’s re-election campaign released a TV ad that sought to tie Molinaro to his own ethics issues and a contractor in Dutchess County who employed the GOP candidate’s wife and has received county contracts.

House GOP-Aligned Super PAC Spending More In NY-19, NY-22

The super PAC allied with the House Republican leadership in Thursday announced it would spend an additional $13 million this week across the country, including two battleground races in New York: the 19th congressional district and the 22nd House district.

“This week’s $13 million reservation allows CLF to double-down in current districts and expand to new races as we work to support Republicans across the country,” said Corry Bliss, the executive director of the Congressional Leadership Fund.

“In addition to the aggressive ad campaign, CLF’s hyper-targeted, data-driven field program has exceeded 21 million voter contacts since February 2017 and will continue be an effective tool in working to hold the House Republican majority.”

The ads have been especially pointed from the CLF, with one spot in the 19th district highlighting hip hop lyrics by Democratic candidate Antonio Delgado, who is challenging Republican Rep. John Faso in the 19th district. Critics have knocked the strategy as a racially charged.

The CLF is now taking a role in 15 House races around the country. In May, the group received the help of casino magnate Sheldon Adelson, who contributed $30 million to the group.

Tenney Won’t Discuss Campaign Memo

Rep. Claudia Tenney would not discuss on Thursday the controversial memorandum that warns campaign staff to be safe while at work and at home and criticizes the family of her Democratic opponent Anthony Brindisi as “criminal” and “thuggish.”

Tenney was speaking at an unrelated event in Oriskany Falls and did not want to speak off topic, she said.

“We’re not going off topic because we want Oriskany to get the full benefit,” she said. “So thank you.”

Tenney noted her campaign manager had spoken on camera about the memo and insisted she hasn’t seen any news stories about the controversy.

“I didn’t write the memo,” she said while pulling off the microphone clipped to her jacket. “I’m not going to speak on behalf of the memo.”

The memo, written by a Tenney campaign consulted, references the criminal history of Brindisi’s father and brother while also urging campaign workers to lock their doors at night.

“My father is not on the ballot in November. Her father is not on the ballot in November. My name and Claudia Tenney’s name are on the ballot in November,” Brindisi said in an interview with Spectrum News.

“And people are going to look at my record, one of working with both sides of the aisle to get things done, someone who has stood up against my party when I think they’re wrong, and someone who has really delivered results for this region.”

Brindisi’s campaign on Wednesday released a fundraising email highlighting the memo controversy.

Tenney is running for a second term in the 22nd congressional district against Brindisi in what is considered one of the top-tier House races in the state this year.

Biz Council Releases Scorecard

Republicans in the state Assembly may be a long way from gaining power in the Democratic-dominated chamber, but they one thing in Albany they do control is the Business Council’s 2018 legislative scorecard.

The organization on Thursday released its ranking of votes and lawmakers, with 23 of the top 25 lawmakers on the list being members of the Assembly GOP.

Among the Senate Republicans, who hold a narrow majority in the upper house, all 32 members of the GOP conference scored above 50 percent, with most scoring more than 75 percent.

The scorecard assessed a half dozen votes in the Senate and 23 floor votes in the Assembly.

The Senate bills included several budget-related spending packages, including workers’ compensation reform and the extension of nearly $5 billion in HCRA taxes in 2018. The scorecard also assessed votes that sought to decouple the federal tax law changes from the state tax structure and regulatory reform.

In the Assembly, the organization reviewed votes concerning new mandates as well as the single-payer health care bill, which the Business Council opposes.

“This bi-annual scorecard contains familiar results,” said Heather Briccetti, the president and CEO of The Business Council of New York State, Inc. “Votes by the Senate and Assembly Republicans clearly demonstrate they are the most pro-growth, pro-jobs conferences. Interestingly, members of the Senate Democratic conference and the former IDC also scored relatively well, with bipartisan support shown for a number of our priority issues.”

Before Percoco Is Sentenced, Cuomo Attacks Molinaro

Hours before his former close aide and confidant is sentenced to prison for his role in a bribery scandal, Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s campaign released a six-figure TV ad Thursday linking Republican opponent Marc Molinaro to pay-to-play politics.

The ad reignites criticism of Molinaro, the Dutchess County executive, over his wife receiving a job with a company that had received tax breaks and contracts from the county government.

Molinaro has blasted Cuomo in the past for bringing his wife into campaign politics and the ad released Thursday avoids directly mentioning her, referring only to a “member of Molinaro’s family.”

“Molinaro profits. Taxpayers pay,” the ad’s narrator says. “You can’t clean up government with dirty hands.”

In an apparent pile, the state Democratic Committee Chairman Byron Brown called for an investigation.

Molinaro has sought to make the parade of corruption scandals in state government one of the central focuses of his campaign, including those that have touched Cuomo’s inner circle. He’s dubbed his latest swing around the state a “Cuomo Corruption” tour as he seeks to raise the issue that, during the Democratic primary, appeared to have little resonance with voters.

Percoco, a longtime aide to the governor, was convicted of bribery and fraud connected to a company that had sought state assistance in building a power plant. In Percoco’s case, prosecutors asserted his wife received a low-show job from the company.

In a related case, the former president of SUNY Polytechnic and prominent developers in upstate New York were convicted of rigging bids as part of the Buffalo Billion, Cuomo’s signature economic development program for western New York.

Cuomo has not been accused of any wrongdoing.

Nevertheless, Molinaro has pressed issue, hoping New Yorkers will find ways of connecting the dots.

“This governor has emboldened and benefited from pay to play politics, a corruption that is corrosive,” Molinaro said during a stop in Syracuse on Thursday. “He doesn’t seem to learn and he doesn’t seem to know the difference between right and wrong.”

Gaughran Endorsed By Child Victims Act Backer, Gun Control Group

Democratic state Senate candidate Jim Gaughran on Thursday picked up the endorsements of Long Islanders Against Gun Violence and Gary Greenberg, an upstate businessman who is one of the prominent supporters of the Child Victims Act.

Gaughran, running for the Long Island district represented by Republican Sen. Car Marcellino, pledged to push both issues if elected.

The Child Victims Act is meant to make it easier for the survivors and victims of childhood sexual abuse to file lawsuits. The measure has stalled in the Republican-led state Senate.

Lawmakers earlier this year approved the first gun control legislation since the SAFE Act in 2013, a measure that blocks those convicted of misdemeanor domestic violence from possessing a firearm.

Gaughran says he wants to go further, drawing in more misdemeanor sex crimes that would prohibit a person from owning a gun.

“How can anyone oppose protecting children and keeping dangerous sex crime offenders away from our communities and unable to purchase guns,” Gaughran said. “My proposals would ensure that anyone on the state’s sex offender registry would be blocked from owning firearms and would have to vote by absentee ballot to keep them away from our schools and families who go to polling places. These are common sense plans that should have been enacted a long time ago, and I will fight for them to be passed into law when I am elected to the State Senate.”

Forbes Fundraises For Basile

Basile - Forbes Invite Business and Republican former presidential candidate Steve Forbes will headline a Sept. 28 fundraiser for GOP state Senate candidate Tom Basile.

Tickets to the event range from $250 to $5,000 in New York City.

Basile, a former executive director of the state Republican Committee, is running for the Hudson Valley Senate district being vacated by retiring Sen. Bill Larkin.

The district is one of several battleground races facing Republicans this fall in their effort to hold their narrow majority in the chamber.

Basile faces Democratic Assemblyman James Skoufis.

Basile has been lining up the support of prominent New York Republicans for his campaign, with events being hosted by former Rep. Chris Gibson this week and ex-White House Press Secretary Ari Fleischer earlier in the summer.

Cuomo Camp Bolsters Defense Of SAFE Act

From the Morning Memo:

The SAFE Act’s passage in 2013 eroded support for Gov. Andrew Cuomo in upstate New York and among Republicans who had generally approved of his fiscal record.

But more than five years after the measure’s passage, Cuomo has repeatedly pointed to the law as virtually prescient given the continued spate of mass shootings in the nation — making the law one the Democratic governor is happy to defend.

Republican Marc Molinaro this week in Utica told an audience he would scale back the measure, leading the Cuomo campaign to pounce.

“We knew that Trump mini-me Marc Molinaro is an NRA puppet, we just didn’t think he’d be so brazen about it,” said Cuomo campaign spokeswoman Abbey Collins.

“After a long career opposing common sense gun safety reform, ‘A’ rated Molinaro has made rolling back the toughest and smartest gun legislation in the nation – the SAFE Act – part of his campaign platform, threatening just yesterday to dismantle it piece by piece. At a time when people of all ages across this country are crying out for increased gun safety measures, this latest move proves Trump mini-me Molinaro is in the iron grip of the gun lobby. His position is disturbing and dangerous, and the overwhelming majority of New Yorkers will remember Molinaro in their thoughts and prayers when he loses this election by a landslide.”

The Trump nickname aside (Molinaro did not vote for the president, writing in Rep. Chris Gibson), the Cuomo campaign continues to see the issue as a winning one for him.

Gun control remains popular among voters — both Democratic, independents and even some Republicans — in the New York City region, including the battleground suburbs.

Cuomo has railed against the Republican-led Congress on the issue while also prodding Democrats in Washington to act on it as well.

There have been problems associated with the measure, including the creation of an ammunition database that is yet to be developed amid technology limitations and an agreement not to pursue it struck with Republicans in the state Senate.

Nevertheless, Cuomo isn’t treating the SAFE Act as a lightning rod: He’s held up the package of measures as an example of what could be done in a state that has vast rural areas of gun owners. He’s gleefully mocked and criticized the National Rifle Association as well as he’s locked in a legal battle over whether to allow a form of their liability insurance in the state.

And the issue has rippled across the Democratic base, turning students and parents into activists on the local level who have endorsed Cuomo’s re-election bid at the same time.

State lawmakers and Cuomo agreed earlier this year to a measure that would block those convicted of misdemeanor domestic violence from possessing a firearm, the first piece of gun control legislation since the SAFE Act’s 2013 approval.

Cuomo TV Ad Blasts Molinaro as ‘Trump Mini-Me’

From the Morning Memo:

It’s no secret that President Trump is the Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s favorite punching bag and scapegoat for any and all problems plaguing New York.

Since winning the Democratic primary last week, Cuomo has continued to focus mainly on Trump, and also is stepping up his effort to link his general election opponent, Dutchess County Executive Marc Molinaro, to the president, who is deeply unpopular here in his home state.

In a new ad released yesterday by Team Cuomo, Molinaro is branded as Trump’s “mini-me” – a moniker the governor’s campaign has been employing for some time now.

The ad brands Molinaro as opposed to abortion rights, an assault weapons ban, affordable healthcare, and marriage equality. It also says he voted against equal pay while serving in the state Assembly and supported the federal government’s 2017 Tax and Jobs Act.

The tagline:

“A Trump mini me for governor? No way, no how.”

Molinaro has sought to explicitly run as a Trump opposite in both temperament and personality. Molinaro has noted repeatedly he did not vote for Trump in 2016, writing in Rep. Chris Gibson that year instead.

Prior to his significant win against his primary opponent, actree-turned-activist Cynthia Nixon, Cuomo and his campaign paid little attention to Molinaro, who is vastly underfund compared to the governor, and also is running an uphill battle in a Democrat-dominated, largely anti-Trump state.

Molinaro, meanwhile, is trying to capitalize on free media and has launched a so-called “Cuomo Corruption Tour.” He continues to hammer away at Cuomo’s alleged ties to Albany corruption – particularly the conviction on federal corruption charges of former top Cuomo aide Joe Percoco, who is scheduled to be sentenced today.

It remains to be seen whether this line of argument holds weight with voters, as a June Siena poll showed Cuomo has a nearly 20 percentage point lead over Molinaro.

“Andrew Cuomo’s corruption is eroding all public trust in government, and that cannot stand,” Molinaro said. “His administration acts like a corrupt enterprise operating beyond all bounds of normalcy and under strict and willful secrecy. Even his so-called ethics commission, JCOPE, appears to be inside the Cuomo cabal. We must find a way to get at the truth, and this bill will do it.”

In a statement released yesterday, referencing gun control comments Molinaro made at a campaign stop in Utica, Cuomo campaign spokeswoman Abbey Collins said:

“We knew that Trump mini-me Marc Molinaro is an NRA puppet, we just didn’t think he’d be so brazen about it. After a long career opposing common sense gun safety reform, ‘A’ rated Molinaro has made rolling back the toughest and smartest gun legislation in the nation – the SAFE Act – part of his campaign platform, threatening just yesterday to dismantle it piece by piece.”

“At a time when people of all ages across this country are crying out for increased gun safety measures, this latest move proves Trump mini-me Molinaro is in the iron grip of the gun lobby. His position is disturbing and dangerous, and the overwhelming majority of New Yorkers will remember Molinaro in their thoughts and prayers when he loses this election by a landslide.”

Molinaro has reiterated on multiple occasions that he did not cast a ballot for Trump in the 2016 election, instead writing in the name of former Rep. Chris Gibson from NY-19.

Also while in Utica, Molinaro picked up the endorsement of Oneida County Executive Anthony Picente, a fellow Republican, who in the past crossed party lines to endorse Cuomo for re-election.