A federal judge has delayed a hearing into whether the convictions of former Nassau County Executive Edward Mangano and his wife, Linda, should be overturned because of a defense claim that a key government witness in the case committed perjury.
The hearing into the veracity of the witness, former Long Island restaurateur Harendra Singh, was scheduled to take place in federal court in Central Islip on Tuesday and Wednesday but was delayed because of the coronavirus pandemic.
Arguments have been moved to April 20 and April 21, according to a notice posted in federal court records Thursday by U.S. District Judge Joan Azrack.
The judge ordered the delay after the chief judge in the Eastern District last week extended the ban on in-person proceedings to prevent the spread of the virus until at least March 1. The ban was set to expire Jan. 19.
The delay is the latest in a series of events that have prevented the sentencing of the Manganos, who were convicted in March 2019.
Federal prosecutors have denied defense attorneys' contention that Singh committed perjury during his lengthy testimony on the witness stand, and that they should either get a new trial or have several conviction counts thrown out.
Edward Mangano was convicted 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, after a seven-week retrial and six days of jury deliberations.
Linda Mangano was convicted of conspiracy to obstruct justice, obstruction of justice, and two counts of lying to the FBI.
In the Manganos’ trial, the thrust of Singh’s testimony was that he bribed the couple in order to get lucrative favors, among them a $20 million indirect loan guarantee from the Town of Oyster Bay. The bribes included a $450,000 no-show job for Linda Mangano.
In their motion to overturn their clients' convictions, however, the Manganos’ attorneys said Singh contradicted his testimony against Edward Mangano in a later unrelated civil case.
In that civil case, Singh testified that bribing Mangano "had nothing to do with the Town of Oyster Bay," the defense attorneys say.
But federal prosecutors said the defense argument fails "as it rests exclusively upon selective snippets of Singh’s [civil] deposition that are mischaracterized."
The hearing on Singh’s testimony was originally scheduled for December but it was delayed until January because of the pandemic.
Other delays in the sentencings have been caused by a defense attorney asking for more time to file motions because of involvement in an unrelated trial, federal prosecutors asking for more time to respond to defense motions, and the pre-sentence report by federal probation officials taking longer than anticipated.
John Carman, Linda Mangano's attorney, said Thursday, "Under the best of circumstances, being a defendant in a federal criminal case is a brutal, dehumanizing experience. The impact of the virus on the justice system has made a terrible situation considerably worse."
Kevin Keating, Edward Mangano’s attorney, said he believes his client will be vindicated and he "continues to look forward to our hearing."
John Marzulli, spokesman for Eastern District prosecutors, declined to comment.