The corruption trial of Cuomo confidant Joe Percoco grinds along this week. It’s hard not to feel bad for this guy, who seems to have gotten in over his head in every way possible — but you’ve got to admit, the “ziti” business is funny.
The feds claim that Percoco would refer to payments by the code word “ziti,” and they say they have emails with Percoco writing, “Keep the ziti flowing … Don’t tip over the ziti wagon.” And where did he come up with that? According to the prosecutor, from watching the Sopranos. In other news, Mario Cuomo is rolling over in his grave.
Meanwhile, in a federal courtroom in Allentown, something entirely different is on the menu. Prosecutors there claim that the word “meatballs” was used as code for illicit payments in the bribery case of mayor Ed Pawlowski.
This from the Allentown Morning Call is priceless:
“So, this is not code for a bribe? Did you actually go to Mike Fleck’s to pick up meatballs?” Morgan asked.
Strathearn replied yes.
“Did you actually get meatballs?” the prosecutor asked.
Strathearn replied that he had, but not as many as he was expecting.
“How many did you get?” Morgan asked.
“Four,” he replied.
On cross-examination, McMahon played several more recordings containing references to the meaty Italian cuisine and suggested “meatballs” was, in fact, code for a bribe.
“You want these people to believe it’s really meatballs?” McMahon yelled. “It’s a payoff, Mr. Strathearn. You know, I know and everybody knows.”
Yes, everybody knows meatballs mean money. And meatballs and ziti? Fuggetaboutit.