Gov. Cuomo uses note calling Joseph Percoco conviction ‘sad’
Gov. Cuomo spoke out Wednesday about the corruption conviction of his former top aide Joseph Percoco — with a little help from a handwritten note.
In his first public appearance since a jury convicted Joseph Percoco of accepting more than $300,000 in cash bribes, Cuomo referred to a hand-written note with his talking points as he discussed fallout of the trial with reporters.
A photo of the note taken by a Daily News reporter showed the abbreviated notes echoed his main thrusts of his remarks before taking questions — “Personal sad SHOCK-FAMILY, 2 young daughters” and “Viol everyth ADM Believes, Not who we R.”
The scene was slightly reminiscent of President Trump’s meeting last month with survivors of the Parkland shooting, where the president was famously photographed holding a note with his talking points. “I hear you,” was one of Trump’s.
LOVETT: Percoco conviction leaves Cuomo with explaining to do
A spokesman for the governor, Rich Azzopardi, said of the picture, “The Governor spent some time collecting his thoughts putting together a prepared statement that he gave before taking questions with reporters as he takes this issue very seriously. He did the same on gun control.”
Cuomo was in Manhattan to attend a walkout by students protesting the Florida shooting, but knew he’d be peppered with questions about Percoco’s corruption conviction on Tuesday.
Percoco, 48, faces up to 50 years in prison when he’s sentenced on June 6.
“On a personal level this is both sad and shocking. I feel for the Percoco family,” Cuomo said. “He has two young daughters who are going to have to live with this trauma and I feel for them and the pain they are going to go through.”
Joseph Percoco convicted of collecting $300G in cash bribes
Cuomo insisted that Percoco’s behavior “violates everything that my administration is about. We strive for total integrity and this is a total aberration from the people who work in the administration.”
The governor took questions for about 20 minutes, rejecting as “political garbage” any notion that he was culpable for Percoco’s actions.
“This was a two-year trial, investigation,” he said. “There was absolutely no suggestion ever made that I had anything to do with anything.”
Cuomo also downplayed evidence Percoco continued to use his government office even after he left the administration to work on the governor’s 2014 reelection campaign.
Trump relied on elementary crib notes to host gun violence meet
“When he left state government he would come back into the office to handle transition matters,” which “is fine,” Cuomo said. “But, there should be no other work done from a government office besides that transition work and in the trial there was a suggestion that there was and that’s a violation of the rules.”
State GOP Chairman Ed Cox ripped Cuomo’s comments as “outright lies.” andrevisionist history.
State GOP Chairman Ed Cox ripped Cuomo’s comments as “outright lies.” and revisionist history.
“The truth is that Gov. Cuomo knew Joe Percoco was working for private clients, yet allowed him to continue acting as his chief enforcer and employee of the state, where he was permitted to work just steps from the governor,” Cox said in a statement.
Blair Horner of the New York Public Interest Group said Cuomo should have sought an opinion from the state’s Joint Commission on Public Ethics before allowing Percoco to use a government office while working on the campaign.
“They made a big mistake not getting a formal opinion from JCOPE,” Horner said.
When asked if there was a need for tighter ethics laws in state government, Cuomo said he would continue to push for tighter restrictions on the outside income earned by lawmakers and government officials.
“The single best ethics reform, which makes everything else moot is no outside income in government,” he said. “When you have a person who works in government and also gets paid on the outside by another employer that conflict always causes problems.”
With Victoria Bekiempis
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