Joe Percoco was not just a loyal aide to Gov. Andrew Cuomo, but also a trusted friend and confidant. On Tuesday, prosecutors focused on the enormous sway he had over state government.
To illustrate the point, they showed photos of Cuomo touring a project in Syracuse's Inner Harbor with executive Steve Aiello of Cor Construction, which is accused of paying Percoco $35,000 in bribes.
The tour was not on Cuomo's schedule, but Percoco arranged it on just a few minutes notice with a profanity-laced phone call to then-Cuomo staffer Andrew Kennedy. On the witness stand Tuesday, Kennedy described two other times Percoco used his immense influence to get results.
In one case, Percoco cleared the way for that Inner Harbor project. State economic development officials wanted to impose a costly labor agreement, holding up the project. But Percoco applied pressure, Kennedy relayed the message, and the requirement was dropped. All this while Percoco wasn't even in state government, having left to manage Cuomo's re-election campaign.
Similarly, on Cor Development's film hub project, pressure from Percoco got state officials to process a late payment to the developer, something Kennedy had been unable to do himself.
Kennedy also described how a top Cuomo aide effectively prevented him from leaving the administration. After he'd accepted a job offer from the University of Albany back in 2014, Kennedy said then-Secretary to the Governor, Larry Schwartz, warned him if he tried to leave, the governor's office would call the school and ask them to reconsider.