The wife and co-defendant of former Nassau County Executive Edward Mangano on Wednesday avoided having to hire a new lawyer a month before their trial by promising not to contest the accuracy of what federal agents said she told them during their investigation of family friend and campaign supporter Harendra Singh.
Edward Mangano has been charged with conspiracy, bribery, wire fraud and extortion. His wife, Linda Mangano, has been charged with making false statements, obstruction of justice and conspiracy to obstruct justice.
Last month, a federal judge unsealed court documents revealing that Singh had pleaded guilty to bribing Mangano and former Oyster Bay Supervisor John Venditto, in part by providing “a no-show job to Linda Mangano from 2010 through 2014.”
The Manganos have pleaded not guilty to all charges, as has Venditto, who is facing charges of conspiracy, bribery, securities fraud, wire fraud and obstruction of justice.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Lara Treinis Gatz, in a letter to U.S. District Judge Joan Azrack, said she was concerned that Linda Mangano might argue as a defense that federal agents inaccurately reported their interviews of her, when she insisted her employment by Singh was not a sham job and that she performed actual marketing and public relations work. Singh, when he pleaded guilty, said “no work product was expected” from her.
Linda Mangano’s lawyer, John Carman of Garden City, was present when agents interviewed her. Gatz noted that the only way to rebut the accuracy of what agents recorded her as saying would be to call Carman as a witness, but a lawyer cannot represent a person and be a witness in the same case.
While Edward Mangano looked on in a Central Islip courtroom Wednesday, Azrack explained to Linda Mangano that she must decide whether to challenge the accuracy of the agents or get a new lawyer. Linda Mangano told the judge she had discussed the issue with both Carman and Terrence Buckley, an Islandia lawyer the judge had appointed to consult on the issue.
“It’s a very important decision for you to make,” Azrack said. “So what is your decision today?”
“I’d like to keep Mr. Carman as my attorney,” she replied.
Azrack then directed her to discuss the issue again with Buckley. After she did so, her decision remained the same.
“Let me just stress — you can’t change your mind midway through the trial,” Azrack told her. Mangano said she understood.
Afterward, Carman said his client had made “a well-informed decision” that would not affect her defense. Nor is it a potential appellate issue if she’s convicted, he said.