From the Morning Memo:

In his first public appearance in Albany in weeks, Gov. Andrew Cuomo acknowledged he has spoken with federal prosecutors about the corruption case of his former top aide, Joe Percoco.

“It was in preparation for Joe’s case,” Cuomo told reporters on Thursday. “In preparation for the case they were indicting for the nine defendants. It was several months ago.”

Cuomo chief of staff Melissa DeRosa in a statement later said Cuomo spoke voluntarily with U.S. attorneys about the case. Percoco, ex-SUNY Polytechnic President Alain Kaloyeros and prominent upstate developers accused of bribery and bid-rigging.

Cuomo says it is also possible he could be called as a witness in the trial.

“I could be. I don’t envision it,” Cuomo said. “No one has suggested that. I think the question would be more it’s up to the nine defendants who they call in their defense.”

At the heart of the corruption case is upstate economic development spending. Though the spending has been under scrutiny by federal prosecutors, Cuomo has promised to double down on his support for it. Cuomo on Thursday was in Albany to announce the latest awards in the Regional Economic Development Council projects — touting an upstate economy he says has rebounded. 

“Unemployment has dropped all across the state of New York,” Cuomo said. “As a matter of fact, most regions have seen a greater drop in unemployment than has happened in New York City.”

Cuomo has also insisted upstate New York is getting the economic attention from the state that it needs.

“It was hard for the upstate members to get that the kind of attention upstate needed,” Cuomo said. “So we changed that. We changed it 180 degrees.

Nevertheless, Cuomo is pushing lawmakers to back ethics legislation in a special session that could also result in the first legislative pay increase since 1998.

“My point is the issues have to be addressed,” Cuomo said. “The reform issue has to be addressed.”

Cuomo and top lawmakers have insisted none of these issues should be linked to a pay hike, but the governor indicated state lawmakers must show some progress.

“I think the the people of the state want to see performance for the raise because in their life it’s not enough to say I need a raise, I haven’t gotten one in a long time,” he said. “What are you doing for it? And what promise of performance do I have?”

Assembly Democrats have been told to standby for a potential return to Albany next week.