Federal prosecutors Wednesday filed a superseding indictment against former Nassau County Executive Edward Mangano and his wife, Linda, adding details of statements to investigators by Linda that prosecutors allege are lies.
The Manganos pleaded not guilty Wednesday to the superseding indictment at their arraignment before U.S. District Judge Joan Azrack, the same judge who declared a mistrial in May after the former Nassau County executive and his wife stood trial on corruption charges for 12 weeks at the federal courthouse in Central Islip.
Despite the new indictment, those original charges against the Manganos, both Bethpage residents, remain the same.
But the addition of 11 specific examples in writing of Linda Mangano’s alleged lies appears to be an attempt by prosecutors to explain precisely the details of her alleged false statements. It was one example of prosecutors attempting to refine their case in the superseding indictment as the case heads for retrial in October.
Though many of Linda Mangano’s alleged lies were elicited during trial testimony of an FBI agent, they were never formally included in prosecutorial court papers or introduced as an exhibit for the jury to review.
The additions involving Linda Mangano seem to respond to complaints made by some jurors after the first trial that they were unsure which of the remarks prosecutors said Linda Mangano made to FBI agents were allegedly lies. Linda Mangano’s attorney often argued during the trial that he was unsure what statements made by his client were allegedly lies, and he underscored this argument during his summation.
Several jurors said that they were close to acquitting Linda Mangano before Azrack declared a mistrial in the Mangano cases on May 31 after nine days of jury deliberations.
Federal prosecutors then immediately said they planned to retry the Manganos on all counts against them.
The government’s case against the Manganos centers on their relationship with a longtime friend, former Long Island restaurateur Harendra Singh, who was the government’s star government witness at the earlier trial.
Despite the longtime friendship, prosecutors said a flow of significant gifts from Singh to the Manganos only began after Edward Mangano became county executive and that they amounted to bribes.
Among the bribes prosecutors said Edward Mangano accepted from Singh were free meals, free vacations to destinations that included the Caribbean, two chairs each valued at more than $3,000, a $7,300 luxury watch for his son, hardwood flooring for his home, and a $450,000 no-show job for Linda Mangano.
In return, prosecutors charged that the former county executive got Singh two lucrative Nassau County contracts, each worth more than $200,000, and help obtaining $20 million in indirect loan guarantees from the Town of Oyster Bay.
Defense attorneys staunchly maintained the items were just gifts based on friendship.
Among the alleged lies that Linda Mangano told agents, according to the superseding indictment, were that “she handled the menu changes and new color schemes for Singh’s restaurants” and “that she met with Singh three or four times a week at her home to discuss her design ideas for the menus.”
In other attempts by prosecutors to refine their case in the superseding indictment, Eastern District federal prosecutors Catherine Mirabile, Lara Treinis Gatz and Christopher Cafferone eliminated all mention of the name of former Oyster Bay Supervisor John Venditto from the new indictment.
Instead they wrote of Mangano allegedly using “pressure” to get an unnamed Town of Oyster Bay supervisor to help Singh get millions of dollars in indirect loans from the town.
Venditto, who had been the Manganos’ co-defendant, was acquitted of all 27 corruption- and securities-related charges against him by the jury before the judge declared a mistrial for the Manganos. Venditto still faces a possible state trial on corruption charges brought by the Nassau County district attorney’s office.
In refining the new indictment, prosecutors also added specific predicate acts to bolster their case against Mangano. In one Singh contract, the prosecutors added that after Superstorm Sandy: “On or about November 4, 2012, Singh provided food to the Nassau County Office of Emergency Management.”
In reference to a contract to supply bread and rolls to the county jail, prosecutors wrote that “On or about May 7, 2012, a Nassau official whose name is known to the grand jury went to the Nassau County Office of Purchasing to discuss the awarding of a certain contract for which Singh submitted a bid.” Trial testimony identified the official as Rob Walker, Mangano’s chief deputy.
Edward Mangano, 56, faces seven felony counts, including federal program bribery, honest-services wire fraud, extortion and conspiracy to obstruct justice.
Linda Mangano, 54, faces five felony counts, including conspiracy to obstruct justice, obstruction of justice and making false statements to the FBI.
The Manganos declined to comment after the arraignment, as did Edward Mangano’s attorney, Kevin Keating of Garden City, and Linda Mangano’s attorney, John Carman, also of Garden City.
A spokesman for the Eastern District U.S. Attorney’s Office, John Marzulli, also declined to comment.
Azrack said during a brief hearing that she was going to move jury selection for the Manganos’ retrial on corruption charges from Oct. 9 to Oct. 11.
Among the changes that federal prosecutors made in the superseding indictment against the Manganos:
1. Alleged Linda Mangano made false statements to FBI agents, including that she:
- Handled menu changes and new color schemes for Harendra Singh’s restaurants.
- Handled Singh’s invite list for Singh’s tastings and gatherings.
- Met with Singh three or four times a week at her home to discuss menu designs.
- Had input on the food at three of Singh’s restaurants.
- Could have gotten a job with an assemblyman for $80,000 a year instead of working for Singh.
2. Eliminated the name of John Venditto and instead mentioned an unidentified Town of Oyster Bay supervisor whom Edward Mangano put “pressure” on to help Singh get indirect town loans.
3. Added specific actions in Singh’s involvement in Nassau County contracts.
4. Added words to help jurors understand the meaning of charges, such appending to Count One, a Conspiracy to Commit Federal Program Bribery, the words “EDWARD MANGANO (TOB Loan Scheme and Nassau County Contracts Scheme)."