Seth Agata testified under oath yesterday at Joe Percoco's corruption trial.
Did he provide expert witness testimony about New York's ethics laws? Not so much.
He testified about legal advice he rendered to Joe Percoco about outside employment.
At the time he provided that advice he was an acting counsel of some sort for the Governor. So what did his testimony show?
While I will wait for the transcript upon which to base the series of complaints I will lodge against Agata, it appears he told Percoco to "not touch with a ten foot pole" any business Percoco may have with entities with business before the state. Sound if somewhat basic advice to give a former staffer. And therein lies the proof of Agata's problem.
PERCOCO WAS A FORMER STATE EMPLOYEE
Agata was a government lawyer paid by the taxpayers to represent New York State not private citizen Joe Percoco.
His advice to Percoco is a clear violation of Public Officers Law section 74 (3) (d). Misuse of state resources.
In addition he provided that advice to Percoco while witnessing Percoco misuse state resources in the form of his former office. Agata was the ethics officer don't you think he should have reported Percoco's use of his government office when he wasn't a government employee? "Gambling in this establishment I'm shocked" to quote Casa Blanca.
Then there is the question of who Agata's client was when he provided that advice. Was it private citizen Joe Percoco? Was it Cuomo's election campaign whom Percoco was working for? Was it Cuomo himself whom I'm sure thought Agata would be protecting his interests? Was it the Governor's office? Was it the State of New York? It's an important question because lawyers including government lawyers like Agata have very strict disciplinary rules to follow. I'm sure the attorney disciplinary committee is paying close attention to the various lawyers involved in the Percoco corruption trial.
And it gets worse for Agata. After providing Percoco a legal opinion Agata found himself running JJOKE (I wonder why?) and was in a position to check Joe Percoco's financial disclosure report to see if he followed the advice Agata provided while violating the public officers law. But surprise surprise he didn't do that "I see nothing I see nothing" He did his Sgt Schultz impersonation because Percoco failed to file that disclosure report. When called on the failure Agata doubled down and stated that Percoco did not have to because of some mythical unwritten policy that Agata decided to follow granting Percoco a waiver.
How many violations of the Public Officers Law did you just count up?
But no worries I am sure the commissioners at JJOKE who have a meeting today are diligently following the Percoco trial and starting investigations into all the Public Officers Law violations that have been testified to under oath.
The simple solution here is for Agata to be fired or resign Today!
But he won't
At least we now know what makes Agata tick. He is a coward. Just following orders. Even from people that no longer have the authority to issue him those orders.
Hey Seth have you been issued a set of kneepads for every government job you've held?