After impasse, jury resumes work at trial of ex-Cuomo aide
NEW YORK (AP) — The jury in the bribery trial of a former top aide to New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo seemed back on track Thursday, completing a fifth day of deliberations without signs of the discord revealed in its fourth.
The jury deciding the fate of longtime Cuomo confidante Joseph Percoco asked for transcripts of testimony but otherwise worked quietly for nearly four hours before going home to accommodate a juror who must leave early each day.
The short days led Manhattan federal Judge Valerie Caproni to say Tuesday that four days of deliberations had really amounted to only two days. She made the observation after the jury’s foreman sent a note saying jurors were divided and set in their positions. Three jurors also had asked to be removed from the case, citing the six-week length of the trial and personal reasons.
Caproni ordered them to continue working with renewed enthusiasm for reaching a consensus, but gave them Wednesday off as a severe storm passed through the Northeast.
The judge also warned lawyers when jurors were not in the room that they might need to be prepared to discuss how to proceed should all jurors not show up Thursday. But they all came.
In a moment of courtroom levity, Caproni announced at the conclusion of Thursday’s deliberations that a juror had sent a note informing the court that she had been summoned to serve jury duty in another courthouse on Thursday, even as she served her seventh week on the Percoco trial jury.
“I am very popular with the justice system,” she wrote. Caproni said she would fix it.
Percoco, 48, is on trial on charges that he accepted over $300,000 in bribes from three businessmen who needed the state’s help. The businessmen are Percoco’s co-defendants.
Lawyers for Percoco and the businessmen say no bribes exchanged hands.
Cuomo, a Democrat, has been described at the trial as having been so close to Percoco over the last quarter century that he considered him like a brother.
Percoco, who served as Cuomo’s re-election campaign chairman in 2014, did not testify.