Percoco Highlights Pre-Verdict Remedies For False Testimony
By Avi Weitzman
This article originally appeared in Law360
The high-profile public corruption prosecution of Joseph Percoco, a former top aide to New York Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo, and three co-defendants, is a recent example of the government's reliance on a cooperating witness who was shown to have provided false testimony. In that criminal trial, prosecutors in the Southern District of New York relied heavily on the testimony of lead cooperating witness Todd Howe, a disgraced former lobbyist. On direct examination, Howe testified about his involvement in widespread criminal conduct with the defendants — conduct to which he pled guilty as part of his September 2016 cooperation plea agreement. Howe claimed to be a reformed criminal, though, stating that he pled guilty because he "needed to stand up and accept responsibility for the crimes" he had committed, and that he "realized the best thing I could do for myself and for my family was to be honest and plead guilty to the government."