NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — The defense went after the government’s key witness Wednesday in the corruption trial of Joseph Percoco, a former top aide to Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

As WCBS 880’s Peter Haskell reported, defense attorney Barry Bohrer came out swinging Wednesday. His first question to key government witness Todd Howe was, “Mr. Howe, are you an honest man?”

Howe responded, “I am today.”

Bohrer then went on in rapid succession: “You have lied. You have cheated. You have stolen. You have embezzled.”

Howe answered yes each time.

The 48-year-old Percoco has pleaded not guilty to charges he accepted over $300,000 in bribes to help three businessmen get favors from New York state.

Percoco’s lawyers say he acted legally.

Howe is testifying as the government’s chief witness after pleading guilty to multiple crimes including bribery and corruption.

Percoco was Cuomo’s right-hand man. Howe testified that Percoco sold his power and influence for cash, or “ziti,” as they called it.

The defense is trying to show Howe was lying to earn a lighter sentence for his own crimes.

(© Copyright 2018 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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