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Court denies former Albany power broker Joseph Percoco bail

Joseph Percoco, center, exits a federal courthouse in

Joseph Percoco, center, exits a federal courthouse in Manhattan on Dec. 1, 2016.  Credit: Charles Eckert

A federal appeals court on Thursday refused to grant former Albany power broker Joseph Percoco bail pending appeal of his corruption conviction, ordering the one-time top lieutenant to Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo to report to prison by March 14.

Percoco, of South Salem, New York, was convicted last year of taking bribes from an energy company and a Syracuse developer to use his influence in the executive chamber on their behalf. He was sentenced to 6 years in prison.

He was originally ordered to report to prison on March 1, but a judge of the Second U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals delayed that date to give him a hearing on a request for bail while he appeals his conviction. The hearing occurred Wednesday.

Percoco is challenging legal rulings at his trial that allowed the government to present evidence of his behavior while he was a private citizen running Cuomo’s campaign to prove that he engaged in public corruption. Cuomo wasn't accused of wrongdoing.  

At Wednesday’s hearing, Percoco also told Judges Susan Carney, Robert Sack and Alison Nathan that at his trial, the judge did not require prosecutors to prove that he was bribed in return for a specific official act, and instead permitted a so-called “stream of benefits” theory that he agreed to do favors as needed.

The judges did grant bail pending appeal to Percoco co-defendant Steven Aiello, one of the Syracuse developers accused of paying him money for favors.

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