An attorney for former Nassau County Executive Edward Mangano Wednesday disputed assertions by federal prosecutors that Mangano has made a “meritless” request to the judge to dismiss the corruption case against him and his wife, Linda.
The defense attorney, Kevin Keating of Garden City, argued in December that the Manganos should not be retried because prosecutors improperly withheld evidence at the couple’s initial trial, which ended in a mistrial in May. Prosecutors in a filing Friday called Keatings' arguments "meritless once the hyperbole and accusations are stripped away.”
Keating's response Wednesday was filed a day before the jury selection process for the upcoming retrial of the Manganos was set to begin in federal court in Central Islip.
Several hundred potential jurors are expected Thursday at the court to fill out questionnaires that will be used in selecting a panel for the trial, scheduled to open Jan. 22.
Wednesday's filing was the latest round in pretrial battling between defense attorneys and Eastern District federal prosecutors Catherine Mirabile, Lara Treinis Gatz and Christopher Caffarone.
In December, Keating requested that the presiding judge on the trial, U.S. District Judge Joan Azrack, either throw out the Manganos' case entirely or conduct a hearing into whether the methods used by prosecutors in forwarding or withholding material from the defense was proper. Keating argued that the prosecutors withheld evidence that was important for the defense.
“The defendants . . . were deprived of a full acquittal due to serious and pervasive prosecutorial misconduct," Keating wrote. The attorney for Linda Mangano, John Carman, joined in the request.
The government rebutted those claims in its filing Friday.
Azrack is expected to rule on the motion before the retrial.
In his latest motion, Keating essentially added more information to what he had said were the key points that required a dismissal of the case.
The government’s case centered around the alleged corrupt relationship between the Manganos and Harendra Singh, a longtime Mangano friend and restaurateur. Singh was the star government witness at the trial.
Keating's main defense points were that the government:
- withheld evidence about a witness who could have helped undermine the argument that Edward Mangano was instrumental in getting Singh a lucrative contract to provide bread and rolls to the county jail;
- allowed Singh to lie on the witness stand;
- did not hand over wiretaps of Singh that could have aided the defense;
- mischaracterized the testimony of a witness who supposedly linked Edward Mangano to the granting by the Town of Oyster Bay of an indirect $20 million loan guarantee to Singh.
In the opposition papers Friday, Eastern District prosecutors essentially gave a point-by-point response to Keating's original motion and said its assertions that prosecutors had deliberately withheld evidence were “unfounded and unfair.”
The Manganos are being retried on the same charges that resulted in the mistrial: Edward Mangano on seven felony counts, including federal program bribery, honest-service wire-fraud, extortion and conspiracy to obstruct justice; and Linda Mangano on five felony counts, including conspiracy to obstruct justice, obstruction of justice and making false statements to the FBI.