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Percoco jury tells judge for second time it is deadlocked

The second jury note was sent out at 9:35 a.m., just after the panel began its seventh day of deliberations in Manhattan.

Joe Percoco leaves a federal courthouse on Feb.

Joe Percoco leaves a federal courthouse on Feb. 28, 2018, in Manhattan. Photo Credit: Charles Eckert

Jurors in the bribery trial of Joe Percoco, former top aide to Gov. Andrew Cuomo, were ordered to keep working on Monday after sending out a note indicating they were deadlocked for the second time during seven days of deliberation.

After getting the instruction from Manhattan U.S. District Judge Valerie Caproni at 11:15 Monday morning, the panel deliberated until 2 p.m. without a verdict or another substantive note. They are due back Tuesday morning.

In the note declaring a stalemate, jury foreman Andrew Swartz wrote, “After considering the facts and the evidence with open minds and using your instructions as a road map, we remain unable to reach a unanimous verdict.”

Jurors sent out a similar note last Tuesday. Caproni, as she did then, told them to keep working and trying to compromise. “Remember that you each took an oath to try and a true verdict give according to the evidence and the law,” she told the panel.

The judge rejected as too “coercive” stronger language that would have suggested a partial verdict, or told jurors that no new jury would find the case any easier. Outside the presence of the jury, she told lawyers that if she got another deadlock note, she would declare a mistrial and release the jury.

Percoco, 48, of South Salem, is charged with getting more than $300,000 in bribes set up by ex-lobbyist Todd Howe from co-defendants Peter Galbraith Kelly, an energy executive, and Steve Aiello and Joe Gerardi, two Syracuse developers.

Kelly allegedly had his company, Competitive Power Ventures, hire Percoco’s wife for a $90,000-a-year “low show” job to get help on a Hudson Valley power plant and a pollution-credit pact with New Jersey.

The Syracuse men allegedly paid $35,000 for Percoco to help cut red tape on state-funded projects, and push a raise for Aiello’s son, who worked for Cuomo.

The trial lasted five weeks. Although jurors are in their seventh day of deliberations, many have been partial days, adding up altogether to about 36 hours.

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