A judge has denied bail for former Nassau County Executive Edward Mangano while he appeals his federal corruption conviction, but also extended his prison surrender date by a month while citing an expectation he will ask a higher court to overturn the decision.
U.S. District Judge Joan Azrack also denied bail for former Nassau County first lady Linda Mangano in connection with her conviction appeal, while assigning the same surrender date to both husband and wife: Aug. 27.
The couple had been due to start their prison terms next Wednesday.
In April, Azrack sentenced Edward Mangano to 12 years in prison and his wife to 15 months in prison.
The judge said in denying the couple's separate bail motions in her Wednesday decision that "they have not raised substantial questions that are likely to result in reversal or an order for a new trial on all of their convictions."
Lawyers for the Manganos confirmed in Newsday interviews Thursday they'd take swift action to try to overturn Azrack's decision.
“We look forward to bringing these issues to the Second Circuit Court of Appeals,” said Garden City attorney Kevin Keating, who represents the former county executive.
Linda Mangano's Manhattan appellate attorney, Bradley Simon, said his client "would seek immediate appellate relief."
A spokesman for the Eastern District U.S. Attorney's Office declined to comment Thursday.
A jury in 2019 convicted Edward and Linda Mangano in connection with a bribery scheme involving politically connected restaurateur Harendra Singh, a longtime family friend. Singh previously pleaded guilty to charges including bribery, conspiracy and tax evasion and is awaiting sentencing.
Jurors found the former county executive, now 60, guilty of conspiracy to commit federal program bribery, federal program bribery, conspiracy to commit honest services wire fraud, honest services wire fraud and conspiracy to obstruct justice.
They convicted Linda Mangano, now 59, of lying to the FBI, conspiracy to obstruct justice and obstruction of justice.
The couple maintains their innocence.
Prosecutors had opposed bail for both defendants. They called the ex-county executive's bid — which included claims of insufficient evidence and prosecutorial misconduct — a "last-ditch effort" to avoid prison.
Prosecutors also rejected Linda Mangano's arguments she should remain free due to a COVID-19 resurgence and because she likely would serve her entire sentence before her appeal could be decided.
They said Linda Mangano should "request an expedited appeal" if she was concerned with the length of the process.
Azrack said in her decision that COVID-19 vaccines are available and greatly reduce the risk of serious illness or death from the disease. The judge also wrote that Linda Mangano's concern about the length of her appeal was by law "not a relevant factor" in a bid for bail pending appeal.
Simon said that the defense respectfully disagreed with Azrack on that issue.
"Every defendant has a right to appeal. And by not allowing her to stay out, her appellate rights are effectively being short-circuited," he added Thursday.
By its verdict, the jury found Edward Mangano used his influence as a newly elected county executive to sway Town of Oyster Bay officials into indirectly backing $20 million in loans for Singh, a town concessionaire, after an outside lawyer for the town said such a transaction was illegal.
Singh, the government's star witness, testified he bribed Edward Mangano with a $454,000 "no-show" job for Linda in his now-defunct restaurant empire, free meals and vacations, two luxury chairs, hardwood flooring for the couple's bedroom and a $7,300 wristwatch for one of their sons.
The jury also found the Manganos conspired to obstruct a grand jury probe by scheming with Singh to fabricate examples of work Linda never did, before she lied to federal officials about tasks she claimed to have performed.
In her six-pronged, 32-page decision, Azrack rejected several claims the defendants are expected to pursue in their appeals.
That included rejecting Edward Mangano’s challenges to his bribery convictions, with Azrack finding in part that her instruction to jurors on the law regarding an “official act” wasn’t wrong.
The defense argued Mangano’s actions in connection with the Oyster Bay loans weren’t official actions under a 2016 U.S. Supreme Court precedent that narrowed the definition.
The defense also contended any “limited support” Mangano provided toward Singh’s efforts at getting town-backed loans “was born out of their 25-year friendship.”
Lawyers for the defendants portrayed Singh in court as a pathological liar, saying the perks he bestowed on the Manganos were gifts and not bribes.
But Azrack said in her decision that evidence Edward Mangano pressured town officials to act to benefit Singh was overwhelming.
"Based on the record at trial, Mangano could be found directly liable for Federal Program Bribery (and conspiracy to commit that offense) based on actions he took as an agent of Nassau County in connection with the TOB Loan Scheme," she wrote.
The judge also shot down defense arguments regarding the defendants' obstruction convictions, saying evidence was “more than sufficient” to show the Manganos sought to obstruct a grand jury probe.
Azrack also rejected an argument there was insufficient proof to convict Linda Mangano of lying to the FBI.
Attorney John Carman had argued in court paperwork there was no way to tell if jurors agreed on whether Linda Mangano told a particular lie, and that "neither her exact statements nor the questions she answered were in evidence."
But the judge ruled in part that an FBI agent's notes corroborated the agent's testimony about each of the false statements.
In her decision, Azrack also denied Edward Mangano's motion to put off payment of financial penalties.
They include a $20,000 fine she levied against him at sentencing and more than $10.6 million in restitution to two Connecticut insurance companies that were on the hook for Singh's defaulted loans.
Azrack issued the restitution order last week, telling the former Republican leader to pay back $25 every three months while in prison and then 10% of his gross monthly income after his release.
Delays in Mangano prison surrender dates
- April 14: Judge sentences defendants, tells Edward Mangano to report to prison June 13. Tells Linda Mangano to report to prison June 27.
- May 27: Judge extends Edward Mangano’s surrender date to July 13 with bail motion pending.
- June 9: Judge extends Linda Mangano’s surrender date to July 27 with bail motion pending.
- July 5: Judge extends Edward Mangano’s surrender date to July 27 with his bail motion pending.
- July 20: Judge denies the Manganos’ bail motions, orders both to surrender Aug. 27.