Federal prosecutors are seeking to bar any mention of decisions not to prosecute New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio during the corruption trial next month of former Nassau County Executive Edward Mangano and former Oyster Bay Supervisor John Venditto.
The government’s motion, which also seeks to prevent mention of Town of Oyster Bay actions related to the corruption allegations against Venditto, argues that these topics are “inadmissible hearsay, irrelevant . . . and would create a substantial risk of jury confusion.”
Many of the charges against Mangano and Venditto relate to allegations that restaurateur Harendra Singh bribed the officials by providing gifts, vacations, free meals and a $450,000 no-show job for Mangano’s wife, Linda. In return, prosecutors say Singh received town and county contracts.
Edward Mangano has been charged with conspiracy, bribery, wire fraud and extortion. His wife has been charged with making false statements, conspiracy, extortion and obstruction of justice. Venditto is facing charges of conspiracy, bribery, securities fraud, wire fraud and obstruction of justice.
All have pleaded not guilty and are scheduled to go on trial next month.
Singh secretly pleaded guilty in 2016 to bribing those officials, and also said he bribed a city official whose description matches de Blasio.
Federal prosecutors in the Southern District of New York and the Manhattan district attorney’s office declined to bring a case against de Blasio, even as Eastern District federal prosecutors proceeded against the Manganos and Venditto.
The motion filed in U.S. District Court in Central Islip Friday afternoon said that the defendants would try to use that to suggest they also should not have been charged.
“The defendants will likely attempt to argue that de Blasio was not charged because of some inferred concern about Singh, and attempt to use the failure to prosecute as an attack on Singh’s credibility,” the motion said. But the motion added that any failure to prosecute de Blasio in other jurisdictions is “evidence of nothing” in this case.
The motion, filed by prosecutors Catherine Mirabile, Lara Treinis Gatz and Raymond Tierney, said de Blasio and town actions related to Singh are irrelevant to the trial starting next month.
Admitting evidence about those things would result in “shifting the jury’s focus away from the evidence introduced at trial and whether the government has proven each defendant’s guilt in this case beyond a reasonable doubt,” the motion said.
Venditto’s attorney, Marc Agnifilo of Manhattan, said he had no problem with the motion.
“I think Singh will admit during the trial that he bribed de Blasio, because he did,” Agnifilo said. He doesn’t need to get into whether de Blasio was charged, he said.
“For my purposes, Singh’s a bad guy and he bribed lots of people,” Agnfilo said, although Venditto wasn’t one of them.
Linda Mangano’s attorney, John Carman of Garden City, said the motion didn’t apply to his client. Edward Managano’s lawyer, Kevin Keating of Garden City, could not be reached for comment Friday evening.