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Prosecution, defense battle in papers before Mangano corruption sentencing

Former Nassau County Executive Edward Mangano leaves federal

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

Federal prosecutors have disputed claims by defense attorneys for former Nassau County Executive Edward Mangano and his wife Linda that the star government witness in their 2019 corruption trial, onetime Long Island restaurateur Harendra Singh, had lied on the witness stand.

Eastern District prosecutors' 46-page staunch defense of Singh’s veracity was part of the latest round of legal papers filed in federal court in Central Islip in the run-up to the sentencing of the Manganos.

Also Friday, defense attorneys filed a 21-page brief disputing the government’s previous contention that most charges against the former county executive should stand despite a recent Second Circuit appeals court ruling in the case of former New York State Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver.

The Silver decision and the issue of Singh’s truthfulness are the two main reasons that defense attorneys have been arguing since the Manganos’ convictions that their clients should get a new trial or have several counts dismissed.

U.S. District Judge Joan Azrack says she will not set a sentencing date for the Manganos until the back-and-forth by prosecutor and defense attorneys are completed.

The government’s case against the Manganos hinged on the accusation that the then county executive was instrumental in Singh getting $20 million in indirect loan guarantees from the Town of Oyster Bay in return for the restaurateur giving the couple bribes, including a $450,00 no-show job for Linda Mangano.

In the dispute over Singh’s honesty, federal prosecutors argued Friday that the defense has previously misrepresented some remarks that Singh made in depositions November in an unrelated civil matter. The defense said those remarks prove he lied in the Mangano trial.

In the civil depositions, Singh says in connection with the Town of Oyster Bay loan scheme, that he pleaded guilty to bribing the now deceased John Venditto. Venditto, the former Town of Oyster Bay Supervisor, was acquitted in the original trial of the Manganos.

Singh acknowledged in the depositions that he had bribed Edward Mangano. But he said that it was not for the loan scheme the county executive was convicted of, according to Singh's remarks cited by the defense.

In their Friday response, federal prosecutors, however, say the defense argument “fails as it rests exclusively upon select snippets of Singh’s deposition testimony that are mischaracterized,” and also in response to what they called badly worded questions by the attorney in the civil case.

Further, Eastern District prosecutors Lara Treinis Gatz, Catherine Mirabile and Christopher Caffarone argue that the remarks that Singh made in the civil case are more than overwhelmed by his lengthy testimony in the Manganos’ case, and the dozens of other federal witness and the voluminous records at the criminal trial.

Mangano’s defense attorneys said in their separate papers filed on Friday, in connection with the Silver decision, that prosecutors failed to understand that appeals court’s ruling applied directly to the Mangano case, involving a new interpretation of what constituted illegal conduct by an officeholder.

That interpretation required the jury to have been instructed that Singh bribed Mangano to agree to perform specific future corrupt acts, not to be generally available to assist Singh in the future, according to defense attorneys.

The Manganos were convicted in March of 2019 after a seven-week retrial. Their initial 2018 trial ended in a hung jury.

Edward Mangano, 58, was convicted of conspiracy to commit federal program bribery, conspiracy to commit honest services wire fraud, federal program bribery, 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 making false statements to FBI agents.

If the Manganos do not get a new trial, or if none of the counts are overturned, the former supervisor faces up to 20 years in prison or more, and his wife, five years. But under federal sentencing guidelines they would probably get lesser sentences.

Attorneys for the Manganos did not immediately return calls for comment.

The spokesman for Eastern District prosecutors, John Marzulli, declined to comment. 

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