NEW YORK – A family member of New York Governor Andrew Cuomo reportedly helped raise money to pay legal fees of a former close aide of the governor, who was convicted of accepting bribes.
The New York Times reported Tuesday, the governor’s sister Madeline Cuomo sent an email in February 2020 to two dozen people, including allies and former employees of the governor, asking them to donate to Joseph Percoco’s legal defense.
Percoco was sentenced to six years in prison in 2018 for accepting more than $300,000 from companies that wanted influence with the Cuomo administration.
Cuomo was not accused of wrongdoing, but the conviction of an aide he likened to a brother was an embarrassment that highlighted corruption in Albany.
Madeline Cuomo told the Times she never informed the governor about her fundraising for Percoco, who also worked for her father, the late Governor Mario Cuomo.
“I have known Joe most of my life, and I care for my friend,” she told The Times. “I did want to help him, but once the pandemic hit, everyone’s priorities quickly shifted. My brother Andrew was neither involved with, nor privy to, my independent effort. I still believe helping a friend is the morally right thing to do.”
In her fundraising email, Cuomo, who also donated to Percoco’s legal defense, said his legal fight was “far from over” and he still needed money for appeals.
“My family and I will be participating in that effort, and I hope we can count on you to join in the effort,” she wrote.
Percoco’s lead trial attorney, Barry Bohrer, did not respond to requests for comment from the newspaper.
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