BUFFALO, N.Y. — With the Joe Percoco trial over, prosecutors and defense attorneys will turn their attention to a separate but connected trial this June regarding another alleged bribery scheme — this time involving economic development projects associated with SUNY Polytechnic.
"The verdict is going to have a profound effect upon the governor's office general, the Buffalo Billion trial scheduled for this coming June," legal analyst Steve Cohen said.
Two Syracuse developers who were largely cleared Tuesday will once again be defendants in June.
"The fact that these people were not found guilty beyond a reasonable doubt for that case does not necessarily affect any other case that might come down the pike," Cohen said.
Analyst John Elmore said Percoco's guilty verdicts will affect the Buffalo Billion case from the moment jury selection starts.
"A jury now for this next case is going to come in there knowing that there was something that somebody did wrong and so I think that gives the prosecution a leg up," he said.
As Percoco was the focus in this case, Cohen believes Kaloyeros will be the target in June. He said that could be beneficial to three Western New York developers who are also defendants.
"I would make a very generous deal to any private sector individuals like the Ciminellis to say ‘look, we want to get to the bottom of it. We know that you were just sort of swept into the culture that's existed for a long time. Help us get the bad guys in government. Help us set a precedent that will prevent this from happening in the future,’" he said.
Elmore say the defense should be well-prepared given the events of the last three weeks, including the fact witness Todd Howe admitted to committing fraud on the stand. Paul Shechtman, an attorney for the LPCiminelli defendants, seemed to agree.
“It’s always hard to read a jury’s mind but it seems that the more the case depended on Todd Howe’s word, the less likely the jury was to believe it," Shechtman said in a statement. "That is good news for the next case.”