Jury deliberations in the corruption trial of Joseph Percoco—a former top aide to New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo—appeared to have run aground Tuesday on their fourth day.
Three jurors issued notes asking to be excused from the case, with one expressing concern about the storm expected to slam the New York City metro area on Tuesday night; and another saying that she has sick children.
But in a more ominous development, the jury foreman issued another note stating that the jurors are deadlocked.
“The only thing we seem to agree on is that we cannot agree,” the note read.
Percoco, a longtime friend of Cuomo’s who was once known as the governor’s right-hand man, is charged with taking part in a pay-to-play scheme in which he took more than $300,000 in bribes from executives from two companies with business before the state.
Percoco’s co-defendants are Peter Galbraith Kelly Jr., a former executive for Competitive Power Ventures, an energy company that sought a power purchase agreement with the state for its natural gas fired plant in Orange County; and former COR Development executives Steven Aiello and Joseph Gerardi.
COR Development had sought government contracts for projects in the Syracuse area and Aiello and Gerardi are accused of paying bribes to Percoco for his help in accelerating state payments to COR and for helping the company avoid a “labor peace agreement.”
Kelly is accused of paying bribes to Percoco in the form of a “low-show” job for Percoco’s wife as an education consultant for CPV.
The jury, which sat through six weeks of testimony before beginning its deliberations, is now tasked with weighing 17 counts against the defendants.
U.S. District Judge Valerie Caproni of the Southern District of New York, who is presiding over the case, said deliberations would not be held on Wednesday because of the predicted severe weather. She said deliberations would continue on Thursday.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Janis Echenberg recommended that a juror be excused and swapped out with an alternate, but Caproni said that requires the jurors to start over again.
“You’re going to have a revolt,” said Stephen Coffey of O’Connell & Aronowitz, who represents Aiello, arguing against the idea of starting deliberations anew with an alternate.
The judge also said that, while deliberations are in their fourth day, jurors have put in about two days’ worth of work, since three of the days of deliberation were shortened.
“Jury duty can be burdensome,” Caproni said to the jurors before dismissing them for the day. “The parties to this case, however, are entitled to your best efforts to reach a verdict.”