Closing arguments begin in Percoco bribery trial

Feb 28, 2018

A lawyer for a longtime confidante and top aide to Gov. Andrew Cuomo says his client accepted no bribes - or "ziti,'' as prosecutors like to call it.

On Wednesday, attorney Barry Bohrer mocked how prosecutors made the word from the popular HBO series "The Sopranos'' a focus of their closing argument in the trial of Joseph Percoco. Bohrer said the word is not the language of criminals, even though a prosecutor began his closing by talking about it Tuesday.

Prosecutors say the 48-year-old Percoco used "ziti'' as code for bribes when he spoke to his former friend, Todd Howe. Howe was the government's star witness in the 5-week-old trial.

Bohrer said Howe initiated use of the word "ziti'' in 14 of 16 emails cited by prosecutors.