newsCO.com.au –Ex-Cuomo aide bonded with star witness over fishing: testimony

February 14, 2018

Defense lawyers at the Joseph Percoco corruption trial want to press their advantage following the arrest of the prosecution’s star witness — with correspondence countering his account of an all-expenses-paid fishing trip Percoco took in 2010.

In a letter sent to the judge late Tuesday, Percoco’s lawyer said emails between the former top aide to Gov. Cuomo and co-defendant Peter Galbraith Kelly show they bonded over a shared love of angling — not bribery.

“If the Court will allow the government to depict a fishing trip as the germ of a conspiracy, then the defense must be allowed to show it was the beginning of a friendship,” defense lawyer Barry Bohrer said.

Ex-lobbyist Todd Howe testified last week that he arranged for Percoco to go fishing off Long Island with Kelly to establish their relationship as part of a nearly $290,000 bribery scheme.

Prosecutors also showed the Manhattan federal court jury photos of Percoco posing with a tuna he reeled in during the August 2010 trip, which Kelly charged to his then-employer, Competitive Power Ventures.

At the time, the company was seeking to sell electricity to the state Power Authority, and Kelly allegedly got Percoco’s wife a “low-show” job with CPV in a failed bid for help striking the deal.

In his letter, Bohrer argued that “goodwill and friendship was the real reason that Kelly wanted to help Percoco in the fall of 2012; when Kelly hired Percoco’s wife he was doing a favor for his friend with no expectation that he would receive anything in return.”

“The emails about the trip….show Percoco’s state of mind and Kelly’s state of mind,” Bohrer wrote.

“They show Percoco and Kelly’s sincere bond formed over a shared pastime (fishing, of course) and their pleasure in each other’s company.”

Bohrer filed the letter, which he said was supported by Kelly, amid ongoing cross-examination of Howe, who was jailed Thursday night after admitting he lied to his credit card company in October 2016 to try to avoid paying for a $600 stay at the Waldorf Astoria hotel.

Howe stayed at the swank hotel while meeting with prosecutors to hammer out his deal to secretly plead guilty and cooperate with the investigation of Percoco.

Under the agreement, prosecutors pledged to seek leniency when Howe gets sentenced for eight felonies — including conspiracy to commit honest-services fraud with Percoco — provided he didn’t commit any more crimes.

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