NEW YORK (AP) — A jury has begun deliberating the fate of a former top aide to New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

Deliberations began shortly after 1 p.m. Thursday after federal Judge Valerie Caproni read instructions on the law in the case against Joseph Percoco and three businessmen.

The jury is considering government's claims that the 48-year-old Percoco accepted over $300,000 in bribes from the businessmen in exchange for providing help they needed from the state.

Cuomo, a Democrat, is not accused of wrongdoing.

Lawyers for Percoco and his co-defendants say there was no conspiracy to pay bribes. They say their clients were unjustly charged after a lobbyist made up lies to try to escape the decades in prison he could face after admitting to eight crimes.

The trial began five weeks ago.