The end is near
On day one of week nine of the federal trial of former Nassau County Executive Edward Mangano and former Oyster Bay Supervisor John Venditto came word that another juror had been excused, because of health issues.
But after the lunch break Monday, Assistant U.S. Attorney Lara Treinis Gatz surprised spectators, and Marc Agnifilo, Venditto’s attorney, with some unexpected news.
She said the government could wrap up its case against Venditto, Mangano and Mangano’s wife Linda Mangano by Wednesday, or early Thursday.
“This is the first we’re hearing about this,” Agnifilo said, as some spectators talked excitedly among themselves about the possibility of the trial moving toward an end.
Once the prosecution case is finished, it’s the defense’s turn.
And then come closing arguments.
And then U.S. District Court Judge Joan M. Azrack’s instructions to the jury.
And then jury deliberations.
All of which means the trial likely will continue into a 10th week.
Agnifilo, in continuing his cross examination of FBI Special Agent Laura Spence Monday, returned to the defense assertion that Venditto paid cash for some of the limousine rides prosecutors say were covered by former restaurateur Harendra Singh.
Singh has testified that he footed the bill for rides Venditto, his wife and daughter took — rides prosecutors say were part of a “stream of benefits” Venditto received in return for official acts including backing Singh’s loans.
Agnifilo, however, pressed Spence about the possibility that Venditto, by giving cash to drivers, may have believed that he — rather than Singh — was paying for them.
Spence did not bend, citing her investigation and testimony from multiple drivers who said whatever cash they received were for tips, not payments for rides.
Venditto in interviews with Spence and federal agents, “said he thought he was paying for the whole ride,” Agnifilo said.
“That is what he stated, yes,” Spence replied.
From there, Agnifilo questioned Spence generally about people who received cash, for tips or anything else.
“I would hope everyone’s honest,” Spence said.
“We all would,” Agnifilo replied.
Treinis Gatz — picking up on an answer that Spence had stopped in mid-sentence under cross examination last week by Mangano’s attorney, Kevin Keating — asked Spence what Singh had told her about why he visited the Mangano home.
“He advised that he went to the Mangano home because he would regularly inject Ed Mangano with testosterone shots,” Spence said of Singh, “
Keating stood up to object.
After a bench conference, Treinis Gatz moved on to other topics.
Keating, however, returned to health issues by asking Spence whether she knew Singh’s brother was a doctor.
Spence said she did.
Keating asked whether she knew Mangano “hated to go to doctors.”
Spence said she didn’t.
In response to other questions, Spence said she did not know Mangano had blood work performed in the office of Singh’s brother, or that the doctor had filed a prescription for antibiotics for Mangano.
Keating also asked whether Spence knew that “Mr. Mangano had been diagnosed with a testosterone deficiency,”
“No,” she replied.
In an elevator, after court broke for an afternoon break, Keating said, “Is this what this trial has devolved into?”
One of the first things William Sena, an FBI special agent, was asked to do was rattle off several telephone numbers.
He did so for Edward Mangano’s cellphone.
And Singh’s cell.
And former Oyster Bay deputy supervisor and town attorney Leonard Genova’s.
And Rivkin Radler law firm partner William Savino’s — his cell, office and home. And the office line of his assistant, too.
Then came former deputy Oyster Bay Town attorney Frederick Mei’s — cell and home.
And former Nassau County Sheriff Michael Sposato’s.
And Venditto’s friend, Richard Porcelli’s — cell, home and a Florida number.
And Oheka Castle owner Gary Melius’ cell.
And former Nassau County presiding officer Peter Schmitt’s, who is now deceased.
And Mangano’s former deputy Rob Walker’s cell.
But the former official with the most — and most unusual — collection of numbers was Venditto.
Because in 2010, according to Sena’s testimony and an exhibit entered into evidence by the prosecution, Venditto didn’t just have a cellphone number
He had a beeper number too.
There was no testimony on the brand. But in the day and age of cellphones, beepers still are available, a quick check of Amazon.com showed.
Click here to subscribe to The Point, Newsday Editorial Board’s daily opinion newsletter.