Sunday, 18 February, 2018

Key witness in Albany corruption trial is jailed

Star witness in ex-Cuomo aide Joseph Percoco's bribery case arrested after admitting to fraud try in testimony Star witness in Percoco trial arrested
Faye Gross | 10 February, 2018, 05:32

Gitner also said. Howe said yes.

NY corruption trial star witness Todd Howe appeared in court in shackles and sweats today.

The prosecution's star witness against Joseph Percoco stayed in a pricey Manhattan hotel while meeting with the feds to hammer out his cooperation deal - then tried scamming his way out of the bill, he admitted Thursday.

Howe's court appearance today before U.S. Magistrate Judge Stewart Aaron was about two minutes long.

The arrest comes after Howe admitted during a cross-examination by a defense attorney on Thursday that he lied to his credit card company about a supposed stay by him at the Waldorf Astoria hotel in NY back in 2016.

Howe, from Washington D.C., accrued the charge while visiting NY to meet with prosectors, and tried to get the charge eliminated a month after signing his cooperating agreement.

But on Thursday, Howe, under a grueling cross-examination, testified that in spring 2016, on one of his numerous trips to NY to meet with prosecutors in preparation for the cooperation agreement, he stayed at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel. "You called your credit card company and lied about staying at the Waldorf the very night you were seeing the government?"

"I do, looking at this, yes", said Howe, who had been shown a copy of the agreement.

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

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

A spokesman for interim Manhattan US Attorney Geoffrey Berman declined to comment.

A judge signed off on the request, and Howe is expected to be arraigned Friday afternoon.

He is scheduled to return to the witness stand in the Percoco trial on Monday.

Percoco is accused of pocketing some $300,000 in bribes.

. During opening arguments, a prosecutor, Robert L. Boone, pre-emptively told the jury that Howe was a criminal who had pleaded guilty to eight felonies, many of which related to him telling lies.

Asked whether Howe will continue his testimony next week, Morvillo replied, "That's an interesting question".

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