Mangano jury deliberates a second day with no verdict in corruption retrial
This story was reported by Nicole Fuller, Robert E. Kessler, Bridget Murphy and Andrew Smith. It was written by Murphy.
Jurors asked on Monday for an FBI agent’s testimony about the alleged lies Linda Mangano told authorities in connection with her job with a restaurateur before deliberations ended for a second day without a verdict in the corruption retrial of former Nassau County Executive Edward Mangano and his wife.
The panel's request came in a 12:20 p.m. note to U.S. District Judge Joan Azrack.
It's the only time the jury has asked for a repetition of evidence during 10 hours of deliberating over two days on the Bethpage couple’s fate.
Deliberations will continue Tuesday in federal court in Central Islip.
The judge sent in a transcript of a portion of FBI Special Agent Laura Spence’s testimony Monday after attorneys for the prosecution and defense haggled over what sections were relevant to the jury's request.
The jury's note referred to the use of highlighters by the defense, and then by the prosecution, on a list of alleged falsehoods that are bulleted as subsections under the three counts of the indictment charging Linda Mangano with making false statements.
Prosecutors say then-restaurateur Harendra Singh bribed Edward Mangano after he ascended to the helm of Nassau's government in 2010 with perks that included a “no-show” job for Linda Mangano.
Authorities say once the FBI began investigating, the Manganos conspired to try to cover up the trail of Singh’s bribes, with Linda lying to the FBI during three different meetings.
During the trial, defense attorney John Carman accused the FBI of setting a trap for Linda Mangano and attacked Spence’s note-taking method.
He alleged Spence had to change word order and substitute some of her own language to compile Linda Mangano’s alleged lies.
He also criticized Spence for not recording his client’s statements with anything other than paper and pen.
Carman had his co-counsel, Sara Pervez, use a pink highlighter to mark which words in the indictment's bulleted subsections weren't in Spence's notes from meetings with Linda Mangano.
Eventually, they identified 30 such words and phrases, leaving much of the document covered in pink.
But Assistant U.S. Attorney Christopher Caffarone asked Spence later to read from Linda Mangano's statements as captured in Spence's FBI reports, with Assistant U.S. Attorney Lara Treinis Gatz using a yellow highlighter to mark each word that also was on the list of alleged falsehoods.
By the end, the list of alleged lies on the indictment was nearly all yellow.
Carman also has criticized the FBI for not recording his client's statements. But the prosecution has pointed out that Linda Mangano had an attorney present for two of the three meetings with investigators and defense attorneys also didn't record the sessions.
Prosecutors say other alleged bribes Singh paid Edward Mangano included hardwood flooring for the master bedroom of the couple's home, a $7,300 wristwatch for one of their sons on his 21st birthday, free meals and five trips to places including Florida and the Caribbean.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office claims Edward Mangano paid Singh back by steering two Nassau contracts to him that added up to more than $400,000 in value.
One was a contract to supply bread and rolls to the county jail, and the other was a no-bid emergency contract to feed relief workers at a county emergency operations center in the aftermath of superstorm Sandy.
Prosecutors also say the former Republican leader used his political clout to push through what amounted to $20 million in indirect loan guarantees for Singh’s business from the Town of Oyster Bay after the municipality’s outside counsel declared such an arrangement would be illegal and “a complete sham.”
But the defense argued that Oyster Bay already had been doing Singh’s financial bidding years before Mangano became county executive, with the restaurateur landing multiple agreements to run and expand town concessions at a Woodbury golf course and at Tobay Beach.
Defense attorney Kevin Keating also told jurors that the perks Singh provided were simply gifts from a longtime family friend and that Edward Mangano never reciprocated with any formal government action.
Both Keating and Carman portrayed Singh, 60, of Laurel Hollow, as a liar who perjured himself on the witness stand and as someone who would say anything to try to win leniency at his sentencing for crimes including bribery and tax evasion.
When it came to the post-Sandy contract, other Nassau employees who had relationships with Singh steered it his way, according to Keating.
The defense also has claimed that Singh won only part of a split contract for the bread and rolls deal — which his wife's bakery then had to decline because of the size of the job — because the county legislature’s presiding officer stressed that local vendors should get priority. Prosecutors put on witnesses who testified that county officials took unusual steps to help award the contract to Singh's bakery.
Edward Mangano, 56, is standing trial for seven felony offenses that include bribery, conspiracy and extortion.
Linda Mangano, 55, is standing trial for five felony offenses that include lying to the FBI and obstruction of justice.