Two former aides to Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo and six co-defendants pleaded not guilty to corruption charges during a brief arraignment in federal court in Manhattan on Thursday.
The not-guilty pleas before U.S. District Judge Valerie Caproni followed the indictment last week of Joseph Percoco, 47, of South Salem, Cuomo’s former right-hand man, and Alain Kaloyeros, 60, of Slingerlands, the ex-president of SUNY Polytechnic Institute.
They each were charged in two separate payoff schemes for upstate development contracts and other favors involving six executives from an energy company and developers from Buffalo and Syracuse.
Prosecutors told Caproni the discovery — potential evidence that has to be shared with the defense — was massive, including emails, documents and statements from the defendants that comprised more than 2 million pages and 2 terabytes of digital information.
Lead prosecutor Janis Echenberg told Caproni the trial would probably last four to six weeks, but added, in a reference to possible guilty pleas, “We don’t know how many defendants will actually go to trial.”
Caproni said she wouldn’t set a trial date until next year so the defense would have time to review the evidence and get a sense of how long it would take to prepare.
The indictment says lobbyist Todd Howe, an ex-Cuomo aide who became a government cooperating witness, coordinated $300,000 in payments to Percoco from an energy company and a developer in return for favors, and also was paid by two developers in a scheme to rig bids on state projects with Kaloyeros.
Cuomo has not been charged with wrongdoing, but in addition to his ties to Percoco and Kaloyeros, the indictment says the developers were major donors to his campaigns.