Dominic CarterJan 25, 2018, 7:51 pmJan 25, 2018, 8:43 pm

Governor chief-of-staff: Trial won't affect Cuomo's future

Though he never confirmed a possible 2020 bid, he is focused on securing a 3rd term as governor


NEW YORK (AP) — The chief of staff for New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo emerged Thursday from testimony at the bribery trial of one of Cuomo's former top aides to say the prosecution would not affect the Democrat's political trajectory.

Linda Lacewell commented briefly to reporters outside Manhattan federal court after she finished testifying at the trial of Joseph Percoco, Cuomo's longtime confidante and the chairman of his 2014 re-election campaign.

Lacewell was asked if she worried that the trial would hurt the political future of a governor who is considered a possible White House candidate in 2020.

"Not at all," she answered.

Cuomo has never confirmed that he's interested in running for president someday, saying instead that he's focused on winning a third term as governor this year. He has not been accused of wrongdoing and is not expected to testify.

Lacewell testified with confidence from the witness stand, even briefly stopping the proceedings when she said she didn't think it was appropriate to answer a question. She did not have to answer.

"Listen, I'm a former federal prosecutor," she said outside court after finishing testimony over two days. "I've conducted trials. I'm going to respect the process here. There's a jury with a trial underway. Let's let that go forward. I think my testimony speaks for itself. And thank you very much."

Percoco, Cuomo's former executive deputy secretary, has pleaded not guilty to charges that he pocketed over $300,000 in bribes to help three businessmen clear state government obstacles. The three businessmen on trial with him also have pleaded not guilty.
On Wednesday, Lacewell described Cuomo's surprise when Percoco spoke with him on the day in 2016 when investigators raided his home.

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