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Former top Cuomo aide sentenced to 6 years in prison for corruption

Joseph Percoco arrives at Federal Court, in New York, Thursday, Jan. 25, 2018. 

Richard Drew / AP

NEW YORK — A former top aide to New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo has been sentenced to six years in prison for fraud and accepting bribes. Joseph Percoco was sentenced Thursday by a federal judge in New York City. 

U.S. District Judge Valerie Caproni said she hoped the sentence would be heard in the state capital. 

Percoco was convicted in March of accepting more than $300,000 from companies that wanted influence with the Cuomo administration. 

The governor wasn't charged in the case and denied any knowledge of Percoco's influence peddling. However, trial testimony presented an unflattering picture of the inner workings of his office. 

"I was an Assistant District Attorney and Attorney General, and the rule of law is paramount. Joe Percoco is paying the price for violating the public trust. And it should serve as a warning to anyone who fails to uphold his or her oath as a public servant," the governor said in statement after Percoco's sentencing. "On a personal level, the human tragedy for Joe's young children and family is a very sad consequence."

Cuomo's political rivals have seized on Percoco's conviction as evidence that the two-term Democrat hasn't done enough to address chronic corruption in state government — even within his own administration, CBS New York reports

Dutchess County Executive Marc Molinaro, the Republican candidate for governor, asked police to investigate Percoco's use of a state office and telephone even after he left his government job to lead Cuomo's 2014 re-election bid. And Percoco plays a big role in Molinaro's "Cuomo Corruption Tour," a series of campaign events that he launched last week.

Cynthia Nixon, the longtime political activist and former "Sex and the City" star who lost to Cuomo in this month's Democratic primary for governor, dismissed Cuomo's explanation that he didn't know about Percoco's misdeeds. She said the governor is responsible for his administration, and should have known what his top aide was up to.

"We have either incompetence or corruption," she said. "Which is it?"