February 19, 2019

Witness in Cuomo ex-aide trial to testify Monday

10 February 2018, 04:46 | Devin Moran

Todd Howe the star witness in the New York corruption case

Todd Howe the star witness in the New York corruption case

The government's star witness in the corruption trial for Joseph Percoco, a former aide to Gov. Andrew Cuomo, was arrested Monday after admitting during cross-examination by a defense attorney on Thursday that he violated the terms of his cooperation agreement with prosecutors.

Prosecutors say Percoco, a longtime Cuomo confidante who ran his 2014 re-election campaign, was paid over $300,000 in bribes from 2012 to 2016 to help three businessmen in their dealings with the state.

Consultant Todd Howe was arrested Thursday for violating his bail conditions and briefly appeared in Manhattan federal court Friday.

Howe said he canceled a charge for an October 26, 2016, stay at the Waldorf Astoria amid a series of nine sit-downs with authorities investigating Percoco's alleged "pay-to-play" scheme involving companies doing business with the state.

During cross examination Thursday, Howe admitted he had not informed the government that he tried to improperly recover the cost of a $600 luxury Manhattan hotel room just weeks after signing a cooperation deal in 2016 in which he promised not to commit any more crimes.

Howe admitted he lied to the credit card company about a stay in NY at the time he was cooperating with federal prosecutors in the corruption case. "You called your credit card company and lied about staying at the Waldorf the very night you were seeing the government?"

"As you sit here now, do you realize that you are in violation of your cooperation agreement?"

"I sure hope not", Howe said.

Gitner then asked: "As you sit here now, do you think they're going to rip it up?"

When asked whether he had been lying to the credit card company, Howe agreed: "I believe so, yes".

His lawyer declined comment. Many mob-related trials, for example, have featured the testimony of former organized-crime figures; in a case against John Gotti, a key witness, Salvatore Gravano, admitted his participation in 19 murders.

Hauled into the court where he has been testifying on a wide-ranging NY corruption scheme, the government's star witness had his bail revoked following his apparent confession to a new crime on the witness stand.

Howe, an old friend of Percoco's, has pleaded guilty to felony charges and has been cooperating with the government against Percoco and three executives of two firms, COR Development and Competitive Power Ventures, who are also on trial. He said Percoco acted legally and appropriately.

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