Prosecutors’ sketchy star witness against former Gov. Cuomo aide Joseph Percoco — who was arrested last week for allegedly violating his bail — can wear a suit to court, a judge has decided.
Todd Howe was collared Thursday following his bombshell courtroom admission that he tried to scam $600 from the Waldorf Astoria.
Howe, who copped to acting as the middleman in several alleged bribery schemes, agreed to testify against the onetime Cuomo crony as part of his plea deal.
According to the former lobbyist’s plea bargain, he agreed not to break the law again.
Percoco’s lawyers want corruption trial witness to explain arrest
In merciless cross-examination on Thursday, Howe admitted that he tried cheating the Waldorf about one month after inking his deal with prosecutors.
Howe, who was out on $100,000 bond, was “remanded back to custody for violating the terms of his bail,” prosecutors said — but he hasn’t finished testifying.
The Manhattan U.S. Attorney’s Office doesn’t want its star witness looking like an inmate, however, and requested on Saturday that Howe be permitted to wear a suit to court.
Manhattan Federal Judge Valerie Caproni, who is presiding over the case, approved their request shortly thereafter.
Prosecutors ask judge to let witness wear suit in Percoco trial
Prosecutors had also asked Caproni to tell the jury that Howe was arrested because his bail was revoked “In an effort to avoid speculation by the jury as to why Mr. Howe is now incarcerated … ”
They made that request again during a conference Monday morning.
While prosecutors said Howe’s arrest stemmed from his testimony, they said they didn’t want jurors to think that allegations of credit card fraud were definitive.
Without an explanation from Caproni, questioning may present “a misrepresentation to the jury that he was arrested for credit card fraud,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Janis Echenberg argued.
Star witness in ex-Cuomo aide Percoco’s corruption case arrested
Caproni said she was “not inclined” to give jurors info on Howe’s arrest.
“It seems to me that there is a very, very fine line between saying you did not arrest him for credit card fraud, and you arrested him because you revoked his bail — because he committed a crime while on release” Caproni said.
The trial, which did not take place Monday because one of the lawyers is sick, will resume Tuesday afternoon.
Send a Letter to the Editor