Former Town of Oyster Bay Supervisor John Venditto has asked a federal judge to throw out his indictment on corruption charges or grant him a trial separate from co-defendants Nassau County Executive Edward Mangano and his wife, Linda Mangano.
In his motion filed Tuesday evening in federal court in Central Islip, Venditto mirrored requests made previously by the Manganos. It claims the government’s case should be dismissed, contending it lacks merit and is technically defective. The motion asks for a separate trial by arguing that evidence against one defendant might unfairly taint a co-defendant.
In October, Venditto and the Manganos were charged in a bribery and kickback case, focusing on their relationships with an unidentified businessman who sources have identified as restaurateur Harendra Singh. All three have pleaded not guilty.
Venditto’s attorney, Marc Agnifilo of Manhattan, argues in his motion that his client is actually the victim of a scheme he had no part in. The scheme, he said, was orchestrated by Singh, former Town Deputy Attorney Fred Mei, and an outside counsel for the town with the Harris Beach law firm — identified by the initials W.G. but in other court papers identified as William Garry — to obtain millions of dollars in loan guarantees for Singh, who operated concessions for the town.
The claims in Venditto’s motion track those made in July in a civil suit the Town of Oyster Bay filed against that same group in State Supreme Court in Mineola.
An attorney for Singh, Anthony LaPinta, has said that the loan guarantees were approved by the town based on an opinion from its lawyers. A spokesman for Harris Beach has said that the allegations in the suit were “without merit.” Mei’s attorney has not returned phone calls.
Agnifilo also alleges that the government has falsely attributed actions that Edward Mangano allegedly performed to Venditto. He said the government unfairly questioned his client without informing him that he was a target of its investigation.
In his papers, Edward Mangano also says the government is unfairly holding him responsible for actions that Venditto allegedly performed.
Venditto and Edward Mangano were each charged in the federal indictment with conspiracy, bribery involving a federal program, honest services wire fraud, and extortion.
Linda Mangano was charged with conspiracy to obstruct justice and lying to federal investigators.
Federal prosecutors have until October to respond to the defendants’ pretrial motions. John Marzulli, a spokesman for Eastern District prosecutors, declined to comment.
U.S. District Judge Joan Azrack has scheduled a trial for the three for January.