About 300 potential jurors showed up at the federal courthouse in Central Islip Thursday for jury selection in the corruption retrial of former Nassau County Executive Edward Mangano and his wife, Linda.
The potential jurors were ushered into the large ceremonial courtroom and introduced to key players in the case by U.S. District Judge Joan Azrack, the presiding judge, who gave a very brief summary of the case.
In addition to the Manganos, Azrack also pointed out Edward Mangano’s attorneys, Kevin Keating and Matthew Brissenden; Linda Mangano’s attorney, John Carman; and Eastern District Assistant United States Attorneys Catherine Mirabile, Lara Treinis Gatz and Christopher Caffarone. Others in the courtroom included five federal agents from the U.S. Attormey’s office and the FBI who were involved in the investigation.
Azrack also swore in the potential jurors and ordered them not to read or view stories about the case in the media, search the internet for information or discuss the case with anybody.
The potential jurors were then given a questionnaire about the case to be filled out in the courtroom.
Such questionnaires traditionally include a brief explanation of the case and ask for the background of potential jurors; whether they have read or heard anything in the media about the case; whether they are active in fields that the defendants might be known — in this instance politics -- and whether they know anyone on a lengthy list of people involved in the case, including possible witnesses.
In such complex cases, the final panel usually consists of 12 jurors and six alternates. The alternates are to replace any jurors who drop out during a trial.
Defense and prosecution attorneys will use the questionnaires to help choose the jury. The actual selection of the panel is scheduled for Wednesday, Jan. 16, and Thursday, Jan. 17.
Opening remarks by attorneys in the Mangano trial are expected to begin Tuesday, Jan. 22.
Edward Mangano is charged with receiving bribes from the couple's longtime friend, restaurateur Harendra Singh, including a $450,000 no-show job for Linda Mangano.
In return, prosecutors say, Edward Mangano helped Singh get several Nassau County contracts – one to provide bread and rolls to the county jail and another for food for county workers in the aftermath of superstorm Sandy – as well as a $20 million indirect loan guarantee from the Town of Oyster Bay, according to prosecutors.
Linda Mangano is charged with lying to federal authorities about her work for Singh.
The Manganos maintain their innocence and said that any gifts they received from Singh were based solely on their friendship.
The initial trial ended in a mistrial on May 31 after 12 weeks of testimony and deliberations.