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Mangano jury ends first day of deliberations without reaching a verdict

Linda and Edward Mangano leave federal court in

Linda and Edward Mangano leave federal court in Central Islip on Thursday. Credit: James Carbone

This story was reported by Nicole Fuller, Robert E. Kessler, Bridget Murphy and Andrew Smith. It was written by Murphy.

The first day of jury deliberations in the federal corruption retrial of former Nassau County Executive Edward Mangano and his wife, Linda, ended Thursday without a verdict.

U.S. District Judge Joan Azrack instructed the panel on the law before the eight women and four men started mulling over the Bethpage couple's fate.

Jurors  began their work shortly after noon and ended for the day about 3 p.m.

It's the second time the case against former Republican leader and his wife  is being considered by a jury, following a mistrial in the same Central Islip courthouse last May.

The prior proceeding lasted three months and ended in an acquittal for the Manganos' co-defendant, former Town of Oyster Bay Supervisor John Venditto on corruption charges.

This time, jurors got the case in the trial's sixth week, after five weeks of witness testimony.

Edward Mangano, 56, is on trial  on seven felony offenses — charges of bribery, conspiracy, extortion and wire fraud.

Linda Mangano, 55, is standing trial on five felonies — charges of conspiracy to obstruct justice, obstruction of justice and making false statements to the FBI.

If convicted, they could face up to 20 years in prison, but under federal guidelines a lower sentence would be more likely.

“We remain confident,” Edward Mangano’s attorney, Kevin Keating, said as the day in court ended. “We think we have a very fair jury.”

"The tough part of a trial," said John Carman, Linda Mangano's attorney, "is the waiting."

The U.S. Attorney's Office has alleged former restaurateur Harendra Singh bribed Edward Mangano with a $454,000 "no-show" job for his spouse, along with free meals and vacations, two luxury chairs, ash flooring for the Manganos' bedroom and a $7,300 wristwatch for one of their two sons.

Prosecutors say Edward Mangano paid Singh back in part by steering two county contracts to him in 2012 that together were worth more than $400,000.

One was a deal to supply bread and rolls to the Nassau County Jail.  The other was a no-bid emergency contract to feed relief workers at a county operations center after superstorm Sandy.

The government also has alleged that the Republican leader used his influence as Nassau's newly minted county executive in 2010 to sway Town of Oyster Bay officials into indirectly backing what later amounted to $20 million in loans for Singh's now-defunct restaurant empire.

Prosecutors say that after the FBI began investigating, Edward and Linda Mangano conspired to try to cover up Singh's alleged bribes, and she told 11 lies relating mostly to her employment with the restaurateur.

In a closing argument earlier this week, the prosecution portrayed Singh and Edward Mangano as "partners in crime."

Assistant U.S. Attorney Catherine Mirabile said the two men "used each other" and "were tied by corruption, power and greed."

But Keating, in his closing argument, called Singh a "morally bankrupt sociopath" who repeatedly lied from the witness stand.

The defense attorney also insisted Edward Mangano took no formal government action after gifts from Singh, and his client's actions therefore didn't meet the legal definition of bribery.

Carman also called Singh a liar in his closing argument and suggested the FBI “set a trap” for Linda Mangano after she “agreed to cooperate” by speaking to federal officials three times in 2015.

He also sharply criticized the FBI's note-taking during interviews with his client. Carman said Special Agent Laura Spence had to change word order, alter syntax and grammar, insert some of her own language and edit out other words to compile Linda Mangano’s purported false statements.

Prosecutors have said that in two of the three meetings between federal officials and Linda Mangano, she had an attorney present who could have recorded the session, but did not.

The defense rested without calling witnesses; under the law they  had no obligation to do so

Assistant U.S. Attorney Christopher Caffarone asked the jury to deliver a guilty verdict when the prosecution got the final word Wednesday in closing arguments. 

"Mr. Mangano defiled his oath day after day, week after week, month after month for five years," the prosecutor said. ". . . The time has come for Ed Mangano and Linda Mangano to be held accountable."

.Deliberations continue Monday.

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