Arrest of Star Percoco Witness Could Hurt Prosecution

Percoco Witness Howe Arrested
– Times Union

Manatt’s Richard Hartunian, a partner in the firm’s corporate investigations and white collar defense practice, was quoted by the Times Union for an article on the arrest of former lobbyist and Albany insider Todd Howe.

Howe, the publication notes, is the star witness in former Gov. Andrew Cuomo aide Joseph Percoco’s trial, in which Percoco is facing charges of bribery and fraud. In September 2016, Howe pleaded guilty to eight felonies, including embezzlement and tax fraud, and signed a cooperation agreement requiring him not to commit any further crimes. He was arrested for violating the terms of this agreement after he attempted to evade a hotel bill.

Hartunian explained that Howe’s disclosures, which came to light during testimony he gave at trial, present “great challenges for the prosecution” in Percoco’s trial.

“It’s probably too strong to say this has sunk the prosecution’s case because there is significant corroborative evidence of his testimony,” said Hartunian. “But now the jurors have to consider that if he engages in this kind of conduct while he’s under this intense scrutiny, what else might he have done or said?”