Democrat New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo is believed by many to have his sights set on challenging President Donald Trump in the 2020 presidential election, but he just got some bad news that could stand in his way.
Joseph Percoco, a confidant and former aide to the governor, was just found guilty in his federal corruption trial.
Percoco, who used to be Gov. Cuomo’s executive deputy secretary, was found guilty of taking $300,000 in bribes from two companies that were engaged in state business, The New York Times reported.
Gov. Cuomo was not accused of any crimes, but it does cast a shadow of corruption on his administration as he prepares to campaign for re-election and potentially challenge President Trump in 2020.
Gov. Cuomo said he was sad for Percoco’s daughters in a statement, but said he stood against corruption.
“The verdict demonstrated that these ideals have been violated by someone I knew for a long time. That is personally painful,” he said. “However, we must learn from what happened and put additional safeguards in place to secure the public trust. Anything less is unacceptable.”
It had to be tough for the governor because of the close relationship he had with Porcoco.
At one time in their friendship the governor described him as the “third son” of his late father, former New York Gov. Mario Cuomo.
Gov. Cuomo’s brother is CNN anchor Chris Cuomo.
Percoco said that he was disappointed in the verdict and would talk to his attorneys about his options for appeal.
“I’m thankful to my family and friends that have stood by me through this entire process,” Percoco said. “and I look forward to them all standing by me as we go forward.”
Now Gov. Cuomo is going to have to answer questions about his relationship with Percoco as he seeks re-election as New York governor. And it would assuredly be an issue on the campaign trail if he makes an attempt to become president.
Fair or not, guilt by association is a major part of politics.