Attorneys for Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo’s office have been sharing information with former lieutenant Joseph Percoco’s defense team about the governor’s contacts with federal prosecutors in advance of Percoco’s upcoming corruption trial, according to a new government filing in court.
Prosecutors didn’t say in the filing there was anything wrong with the sharing arrangement with Percoco, who faces a January trial in Manhattan federal court for taking bribes. But they argued it gave the lie to his lawyers’ complaints that they are finding out too late about what Cuomo and other aides told investigators.
“The Government understands . . . that Governor’s Office Counsel has been proffering to the defendants the substance of statements made to the Government by witnesses represented by Governor’s Office Counsel, including Governor Cuomo,” prosecutors told Manhattan U.S. District Judge Valerie Caproni.
Percoco, 48, of South Salem, is accused of taking payoffs to use his clout and influence in the executive chamber on behalf of developers and an energy company.
His lawyers believe some issues in the case involve conduct between April and December of 2014 — when Percoco left government to work on Cuomo’s campaign before returning — and whether his eventual return was widely anticipated and he continued to exercise power.
They complained to Caproni last week that prosecutors just revealed “exculpatory” evidence they should have known about earlier — that Cuomo and aides Linda Lacewell and Theresa Brennan had told investigators Percoco didn’t maintain an official role and his eventual return was either unexpected or uncertain.
Prosecutors, in their response filed Sunday, said the fact that Cuomo and two other officials “did not know, or claim that they did not know, about Percoco’s State-related activities or his intention to return to State employment is not exculpatory” — and in any event, Percoco’s team already knew about it through lawyers for Cuomo’s office.
Cuomo’s office, in response to questions about whether sharing information with criminal defendants was typical and appropriate, emailed a statement from outside counsel Judith Mogul.
“As is normal, counsel for the Chamber briefed defense counsel,” she said, adding that prosecutors were “informed in advance that this was occurring.” Percoco’s lawyer did not return a call for comment.