There was nothing distasteful about their ziti.
Joseph Percoco, the former Gov. Cuomo aide facing a bribery trial, didn’t use “ziti” as covert code for ill-gotten gains, but rather, as innocent slang for money, his lawyer suggested Thursday in court.
Percoco’s lawyer, Barry Bohrer, was continuing his cross-examination of Todd Howe the felonious former lobbyist now acting as prosecutors’ star witness.
Prosecutors have charged that Percoco pocketed more than $300,000 in bribes from several businessmen who wanted to do business with New York State, with Howe serving as the fixer.
Both Percoco, 48, and Howe, 57, referred to this allegedly dirty money as “ziti,” in an homage to “The Sopranos,” prosecutors have said.
In his cross, Bohrer tried getting Howe to admit that “ziti” wasn’t as sketchy as prosecutors made it out to be – and that he served up most of the pasta talk in their emails.
“That’s not code, is it?” Bohrer asked, pushing that pasta was simply “slang.”
Bohrer pressed Howe on whether he used the word extensively.
Howe said yes, but with a qualification.
“I think its a little misleading because youre failing to show Joe used the word as much as I did,” Howe said.
And while Howe retained a calm demeanor, he did show signs of possible impatience with Bohrers lengthy questioning.
Howe said at one point I dont know the difference between ziti and angel hair.
I eat Italian food and dont know, Howe said.