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Long IslandCrime

Prosecutors, defense tussle as sentencing looms for Edward and Linda Mangano

Former Nassau County Executive Edward Mangano leaves federal

Former Nassau County Executive Edward Mangano leaves federal court in Brooklyn after a pretrial hearing in October 2018. Credit: Charles Eckert

Federal prosecutors likened former Nassau County Executive Edward Mangano to a big city mayor on the payroll of a mob boss in their latest legal back-and forth with Mangano’s defense attorneys before the sentencing of the ex-politician and his wife, Linda.

The prosecutors responded Friday in court papers to a January motion by the Mangano defense team that contended most of the charges the former county executive was convicted of should be thrown out because of a recent appeals court decision.

That ruling by the Second Circuit in Manhattan, involving former State Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, said the statute of limitations on some of Silver’s actions had expired.

Whatever Silver did after the statute expired did not match the charges of which he was accused, and did not amount to a quid pro quo, the appeals court ruled, in dismissing some of his original convictions.

Mangano’s attorney, Kevin Keating, had previously argued that his client was convicted in analogous circumstances when he was accused of being bribed by former restaurateur Harendra Singh to get him $20 million in indirect loan guarantees from the Town of Oyster Bay.

Prosecutors said the bribery included a $450,000 no-show job for Linda Mangano.

Keating said the indirect loan guarantee scheme was allegedly worked out in 2010, and his client was not charged until later — after the five-year-statute of limitations had run out. Keating has argued Edward Mangano did nothing that could be considered criminal after 2010.

In addition, the defense lawyer said, Singh, the government's star witness, committed perjury in his testimony at the trial about Edward Mangano's involvement in the loan scheme, citing other testimony Singh gave at a more recent unrelated civil case.

In their Friday papers, however, federal prosecutors say the Mangano-Singh scheme was ongoing within the five-year statute. This included Singh getting amendments to the loan guarantees in 2011 and 2012, and with Linda Mangano still collecting monthly checks from the restaurateur until an FBI raid on Singh’s office in 2014, prosecutors said.

“[T]he charged conduct against Mangano is like that of the mob boss bribing the city mayor … Mangano was on retainer, available to Singh when he needed Mangano to take official action to benefit Singh’s businesses in Nassau County. Nothing in Silver … overrules this theory of liability,” Eastern District prosecutors Catherine Mirabile, Lara Treinis Gatz, and Christopher Caffarone wrote in their papers.

According to prosecutors, Singh had also bribed Edward Mangano to get him contracts from Nassau County to supply bread and rolls to the county jail and food to emergency workers during superstorm Sandy.

Edward Mangano was acquitted on the charges involving the Nassau contracts.

In a statement Monday, Keating said of his client: “Mangano was found not guilty with regard to all Nassau County allegations, and with regard to the Town of Oyster Bay, Singh repeatedly stated before trial, and under oath after trial, that Mangano had nothing to do with Oyster Bay,” referring to the loan scheme.

 “For these reasons, and the recent ruling of the Second Circuit in the Silver … decision which rendered the premise of the government's prosecution in this matter unsound, we believe the case should be dismissed,” Keating continued.

Keating and Linda Mangano’s attorney, John Carman, have a filed a separate motion asking that the couple's convictions be thrown out and that they get a new trial, on the grounds that Singh committed perjury in his testimony against them.

Federal prosecutors have until June to respond to that motion.

The 58-year-old Mangano was convicted of conspiracy to commit federal program bribery, conspiracy to commit honest services wire fraud, honest services wire fraud, and conspiracy to commit obstruction of justice.

 Linda Mangano, 57, was convicted of conspiracy to obstruct justice, obstruction of justice, and two counts of making false statements to FBI agents.

The jury convicted the Manganos in March 2019 after six days of deliberations after a seven-week retrial of a 2018 trial that ended in a hung jury.

 The Oyster Bay scheme carries penalties of up to 20 years in prison. If those charges are thrown out, Edward Mangano would only face a maximum of five years on the obstruction count.

U.S. District Judge Joan Azrack has not set a sentencing date. The judge said she would wait until defense and prosecution has finished filing their pretrial motions and had ruled on them.

The Manganos were originally scheduled to be sentenced in October 2019, after having been convicted in March 2019.

 The sentencing, however, has been postponed three times by the judge — first until December 2019, then until March this year, and then without a new date.

 There have been a number of reasons for delaying the sentencing — among them: the presentence report by federal probation officers was not finished; a defense attorney wanted more time to file motions, in part because of his involvement in another unrelated trial; and federal prosecutors asked for more time to respond to defense motions asking that the Manganos get a new trial or that the case be thrown out.

Prosecutors attributed delays to the “the ongoing health crisis,” a reference to the coronavirus pandemic that set off “emergency applications” by detainees or prisoners wanting to be released from prison to home detention in order to avoid the disease. The prosecutors also pointed to the delays in setting up a teleconferencing system, as well as to a number of other unspecified, but unrelated legal matters.

It is not unusual for sentencings in federal cases to be delayed.

Keating has said: “Maybe one in ten federal sentences are actually imposed on the initial date."

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