A Manhattan federal judge Thursday paved the way for corrupt lobbyist and ex-Cuomo associate Todd Howe to be sprung from jail — saying she doesn’t understand why the disgraced government cooperator “is taking up a bed” in federal lockup.
“My view is he’s taking up a bed that perhaps could be better used for other people,” Judge Valerie Caproni said. “I think you all need to talk to each other about why the man is taking up a bed.”
The judge’s statement seemed to shock both the prosecutors and the defense, who looked at each other before saying they would get back to her with a plan.
Howe is the key government cooperator in multiple Albany corruption probes, including one that convicted Joe Percoco, ex-aide to Gov. Cuomo.
Despite his status as a cooperator, Howe was tossed into federal lockup after admitting to defrauding a credit-card company in violation of his bail on corruption charges.
Prosecutors on Thursday said they have not ripped up his plea deal over his arrest, suggesting they will not oppose the judge’s proposal to release him.
The judge set a new sentencing date for Howe for Nov. 2.
As part of his cooperation deal, Howe pleaded guilty to eight counts, including bribery, and faces up to 130 years when sentenced.
It’s unclear if he will face additional punishment for the credit-card fraud.