Rob Walker leaves federal court in Central Islip after pleading guilty...

Rob Walker leaves federal court in Central Islip after pleading guilty to obstruction of a federal investigation into the granting of county contracts in May 2019. Credit: James Carbone

Rob Walker, who served as second-in-command for former Nassau County Executive Edward Mangano, is set to be sentenced Tuesday afternoon in federal court for his obstruction of justice conviction.

Walker, 46, of Hicksville, pleaded guilty in 2019 after an indictment a year earlier connected to a probe of a $5,000 payment he took from a county contractor.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Artie McConnell has asked U.S. District Court Justice Joan Azrack to punish the former Nassau chief deputy county executive and former state assemblyman with four years in prison, saying he brazenly misused his government position.

Walker's attorney, Brian Griffin, has asked the judge to give his client probation. He said Walker is "a proud career public servant who committed a single criminal act" and someone who is "devastated that his actions cost him a career he loved and was good at."

Probation officials calculated Walker’s sentencing range under federal guidelines as 12 to 18 months in prison. The defendant also faces a fine of up to $250,000.

Both a spokesman for the U.S. Attorney's Office for New York's Eastern District and Griffin declined to comment Monday ahead of Tuesday's planned proceeding.

Walker’s indictment grew out of an investigation into whether Nassau public officials had taken money from county contractors and if those parties then tried to conceal their actions, according to federal prosecutors.

When pleading guilty, Walker admitted he had "met with an informant working with the government and … asked him not to disclose the $5,000 he gave me."

The case centered around cash that contractor Anthony Gulino gave Walker in 2014 after a University of Notre Dame football game in Indiana. Prosecutors said Walker accepted Gulino’s invitation to the game and took the money before returning to Long Island.

But when Walker learned of a corruption probe that included the circumstances surrounding the payment, he spoke to Gulino several times to try to convince the Ridge businessman to conceal its existence from the grand jury, according to prosecutors.

They said Walker also urged Gulino to tell investigators he had borrowed the money to pay for a relative’s cancer treatment. Finally, Walker arranged to meet Gulino in a Hicksville parking lot and gave him an envelope with $5,000 in it during a meeting that the FBI was surveilling.

Walker explained to the contractor that he hadn’t told anyone about the money and that it didn’t exist, before agreeing that Gulino shouldn’t say a word to the grand jury, prosecutors said.

They also had alleged that Walker later lied to the FBI about the payment, but a charge of making false statements to special agents was dropped as part of his plea deal.

The prosecution has asked Azrack to consider other "relevant conduct" when punishing Walker, including that Walker received hundreds of thousands of dollars from two political organizations, Friends of Ed Mangano and the Hicksville Republican Club, to pay personal credit card bills.

McConnell has said that included Walker getting more than $250,000 from the Mangano organization to pay off personal charges without providing receipts. But Griffin has said Walker didn’t have a Mangano campaign credit card and paid for political expenses before providing records and getting reimbursed.

The defense has asked the judge to consider that Walker testified as a government witness during the 2015 federal corruption trial of former State Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos and his son Adam Skelos, providing "significant and useful" cooperation for the prosecution. Walker’s cooperation was "not without risk to himself" because he was still a Republican Party member and in a political job, Griffin has argued.

But McConnell said Walker refused to speak to law enforcement until he had immunity and had to be compelled to testify against Skelos.

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