A former close aide to Gov. Andrew Cuomo was found guilty on three counts of federal corruption charges related to a bribery and bid rigging scheme.

The guilty verdict in the case of Joe Percoco was coupled with not guilty results for two prominent upstate developers who had also been accused of corruption and bribery by federal prosecutors.

Percoco was found guilty of three counts of public corruption, namely conspiracy to commit honest-services fraud, conspiracy to commit honest-services wire fraud and solicitation of bribes and gratuities. But the jury returned a split guilty and not guilty verdict on the charges of bribery and extortion.

The split verdict is nevertheless a blow to Cuomo, who had took office in 2011 on a pledge to rid Albany of corruption and change the culture of pay to play at the Capitol.

Cuomo has refrained from commenting on the case over the last several weeks, saying he would not want to interfere with the judicial process. Cuomo was not accused of any wrongdoing.

Percoco was portrayed as a mere scheduler or advance man in Albany by his attorneys. But to Cuomo he was much more, appearing as a fixer as well as the governor’s eyes and ears at the Capitol. Cuomo referred to Percoco as a veritable brother, calling him his father’s third son in a 2014 memoir.

The trial revealed some embarrassing anecdotes about the functioning of the governor’s office, including the effort to prevent staffers from leaving the administration and Percoco’s appearance in the governor’s government office during the 2014 re-election campaign when he was working as campaign manager.

Percoco was accused of accepting bribes from COR development executive Steve Aiello and Joseph Gerardi and Peter Galbraith Kelly from Competitive Power Ventures, and using his position in state government and his relationship with the governor to move projects forward.

The jury came back deadlocked on the charges against Kelly.

COR development is a real estate company that’s worked on several high profile-projects in Syracuse, and CPV is an energy company that owns a power plant in the Hudson Valley.

This was a lengthy trial, with the proceedings stretching over 23 days.

Jurors heard from almost 30 witnesses, and listened to about 14 hours of closing arguments. The four defendants each face several charges, and the jury had to debate each count.

The prosecution’s star witness, lobbyist Todd Howe, had plead guilty to charges related to the scheme the others are accused of running.

Then halfway through his testimony he admitted to committing fraud on the stand and was taken back into government custody- meaning he went to jail each day after court.
And there were a lot of pop culture references: the defendants regularly used the term “ziti” in emails in reference to The Sopranos, where it was a code word for money.

The impact of the case also stretches beyond this trial.

Aiello and Gerardi will be on trial again later this spring along with four other defendents accused of another bribery scheme, this one centered around SUNY Polytechnic Institute and the “Buffalo Billion” economic development projects.
And then there’s the governor’s race.

One issue that came up was the Percoco used the governor’s state offices while he was working on the campaign, which would be a misuse of state resources.

Elected officials are not allowed to use their positions for political purposes. Republicans are already trying to make an issue of that, and so we’ll be watching to see whether this changes voter’s opinion of the governor.