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Appeals court panel weighs whether ex-Cuomo aide can be free

March 6, 2019

NEW YORK (AP) — The lawyer for a former top aide to Gov. Andrew Cuomo urged an appeals court Wednesday to let him remain free while he appeals his conviction on corruption charges.

Walter Loughlin, arguing on behalf of Joseph Percoco, told the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Manhattan that errors during his trial last year were the kind that will require a new trial.

Percoco was convicted a year ago of accepting more than $300,000 from companies that wanted to gain influence with the Cuomo administration.

He was sentenced to six years in prison. He wants to remain free while he appeals.

Loughlin told a three-judge panel that Percoco should not to go prison before the appeals court decides whether there was sufficient evidence to convict him.

“This was an exceedingly close case,” Loughlin wrote in court papers.

In court, he told the judges that Percoco was convicted of three charges by a jury that also acquitted defendants of eight counts and deadlocked on two others.

Percoco’s conviction was an election-year embarrassment for Cuomo, a Democrat.

Cuomo wasn’t accused of wrongdoing, but trial testimony presented an unflattering picture of the inner workings of his office.

Cuomo had once likened Percoco to a brother and chose him to run his 2014 campaign.

The trial and its aftermath occurred as Cuomo successfully ran for re-election last year, winning in a landslide.

After hearing arguments, the 2nd Circuit did not immediately rule but promised a speedy decision.