The corruption trial of Cuomo confidant Joe Percoco grinds along this week. Itâ€™s hard not to feel bad for this guy, who seems to have gotten in over his head in every way possible — but youâ€™ve got to admit, the â€œzitiâ€ business is funny.
The feds claim that Percoco would refer to payments by the code word â€œziti,â€ and they say they have emails with Percoco writing, â€œKeep the ziti flowing â€¦ Donâ€™t tip over the ziti wagon.â€ 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 â€œmeatballsâ€ was used as code for illicit payments in the bribery case of mayor Ed Pawlowski.
This from the Allentown Morning Call is priceless:
â€œSo, this is not code for a bribe? Did you actually go to Mike Fleck’s to pick up meatballs?â€ Morgan asked.
Strathearn replied yes.
â€œDid you actually get meatballs?â€ the prosecutor asked.
Strathearn replied that he had, but not as many as he was expecting.
â€œHow many did you get?â€ Morgan asked.
â€œFour,â€ he replied.
On cross-examination, McMahon played several more recordings containing references to the meaty Italian cuisine and suggested â€œmeatballsâ€ was, in fact, code for a bribe.
â€œYou want these people to believe itâ€™s really meatballs?â€ McMahon yelled. â€œItâ€™s a payoff, Mr. Strathearn. You know, I know and everybody knows.â€
Yes, everybody knows meatballs mean money. And meatballs and ziti? Fuggetaboutit.