The U.S. Supreme Court agreed Thursday to hear a bid by Joseph Percoco, former top aide to ex-Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo, to overturn his bribery conviction.
The justices said they will hear an appeal by Percoco, who was convicted in 2018 for receiving $300,000 in payments from developers and an energy company executive in exchange for exercising his clout with the Cuomo administration.
Percoco began a six-year sentence in March 2019 but was granted early release from prison last December.
Now, his attorney is arguing the verdict should be overturned, saying Percoco cannot be convicted on public corruption charges because, in short, he had left the state government payroll and was managing Cuomo’s campaign as a private citizen.
A federal appeals court, the 2nd Circuit Court in Manhattan, had dismissed the argument and upheld Percoco’s conviction.
But the nation’s top court says it will hear the case, although no date has been set.
“We are extremely pleased with this development and we remain optimistic about the outcome," Barry Bohrer, Percoco's lawyer, said in a statement. The U.S. Attorney’s Office declined to comment.
Percoco has long ties to the Cuomo family — the late Gov. Mario Cuomo considered him his “third son,” according to Andrew M. Cuomo. Among other roles, Percoco had managed Andrew M. Cuomo’s election campaigns and served as his executive deputy secretary, although he was also known as the governor’s political enforcer.
In a related case, the Supreme Court also said it will hear an appeal by Louis Ciminelli, a Buffalo-based developer, who was convicted of wire fraud in a separate trial that stemmed from the same federal probe into development projects and the Cuomo administration.
Prosecutors said Ciminelli and others conspired to rig a bidding process to ensure his company landed lucrative projects that were part of the “Buffalo Billion” project. He is serving a 28-month federal prison term.
Investigators didn’t accuse Andrew M. Cuomo of any wrongdoing.