Former Nassau County Executive Edward Mangano.

Former Nassau County Executive Edward Mangano. Credit: Randee Daddona

Federal prosecutors denied claims they withheld evidence favorable to the defense in the corruption case against former Nassau County Executive Edward Mangano, saying the assertions “are meritless once the hyperbole and accusations are stripped way," newly filed court documents say.

 “The court should reject this feeble attempt to manufacture [prosecutorial] prejudice where there is none," according to opposition papers filed late Friday night by Eastern District prosecutors to claims by the defendants in the run-up to the corruption retrial of Nassau County Executive Edward Mangano and his wife, Linda.

The remarks came in response to a 42-page motion filed in December by Kevin Keating of Garden City, the attorney for Edward Mangano, that asked for a dismissal of the charges against  him because of what he said was government misconduct. The defense asked that if the presiding judge, U.S. District Judge Joan Azrack, failed to dismiss the case outright, she should, at least, conduct a hearing to determine the methods the government used in forwarding or withholding evidence from the defense.

The Mangano defense has until Thursday to respond to the prosecutors’ filings — the same day that several hundred potential jurors are expected to be summoned to the federal courthouse in Central Islip to fill out forms to be used in screening them for the final panel that will hear the case. The Manganos’ trial is scheduled to start on Jan. 22.

Azrack is expected to rule on the Mangano motion before the start of the trial.

"We are working on a vigorous reply," Keating said when asked about the government's filing.

In a separate letter to the judge, Linda Mangano had joined in her husband's motion to have her case dismissed as well.

Her attorney, John Carman of Garden City, declined to comment.

Edward Mangano, 56, faces seven felony counts, including federal program bribery, honest-services wire fraud, extortion and conspiracy to obstruct justice.

Linda Mangano, 54, faces five felony counts, including conspiracy to obstruct justice, obstruction of justice and making false statements to the FBI. The Manganos pleaded not guilty to the charges.

The government’s case against the Manganos centers on their relationship with their longtime friend and restaurateur Harendra Singh, who was the prosecution’s star witness at the earlier trial and is expected to testify at the retrial.

Keating said in December that the dismissal was warranted — in part — because the government had recently handed over new material.

“The defendants now learn that they were deprived of a full acquittal due to serious and pervasive prosecutorial misconduct,” Keating wrote in his motion.

In their point-by-point rebuttal, federal prosecutors Catherine Mirabile, Lara Treinis Gatz and Christopher Caffarone said,  "The Court should not give credence to Mangano’s baseless allegations and should deny his request for a hearing or an in camera review."

The prosecutors' a 47-page response also vehemently denied Keating’s assertions that they had concealed “a key witness” who could have helped exonerate Edward Mangano; engaged in “withholding thousands of undisclosed recordings of Mr. Singh,” some of which included exculpatory material; permitted Singh to lie on the witness stand; and concealed evidence that a government witness had mistakenly claimed that Mangano had pushed for the Oyster Bay loans for Singh.

The prosecutors scoffed at the idea that they concealed “a key witness” who could have helped exonerate Edward Mangano of being instrumental in getting Singh a lucrative contract to supply bread and rolls to the county jail. The supposed key witness was instrumental in getting her then boss, the late county legislative presiding officer Peter Schmitt, behind the Singh contract, not Mangano, Keating said.

But prosecutors said that the account of the witness, former deputy majority counsel, Meredith Anne Hughes, was not that helpful to Mangano because the defense already had a similar account from Hughes’ boss, Chris Ostuni, Schmitt’s counsel, and chose not to call him as a witness. Ostuni is the son-in-law of former GOP Nassau leader Joseph Mondello.

The prosecutors maintained during the trial that it was Mangano’s chief aide, then Deputy County Executive Rob Walker, who was involved for Mangano in Singh’s getting the contract.

The woman in charge of purchasing food for the jail testified that Walker showed up at her office apparently to push for Singh’s contract. In all her 17 years working for the county, the woman, Linda Mills, testified that she had never previously had such a high-ranking official come to her office.

The government said that the material was not relevant to the defense, was not the type of evidence that they were required to hand over, and mainly involved the beginnings of so-called minimized conversations — conversations that agents were legally barred from recording because they did not involve criminal activity, such as Singh discussing everyday personal or business matters that defense attorneys knew about.

The prosecutors acknowledged that they had not handed over several dozen calls on a wiretap on Singh phones that they should have, among 2,700 other wiretapped phone calls given to the defense.

As a result of Keating’s repeated questioning about missing evidence, prosecutors decided in October to hand over all of the calls, even though the vast bulk were irrelevant, prosecutors said.

One call involved Singh, before he became a cooperating government witness, telling his then attorney that he is having a meeting with the Manganos. Singh says on that recorded call that he will tell Linda Mangano to tell the truth when she herself has a conversation with government investigators.

 Singh’s attorney, Anthony La Pinta, has said the calls were for the most part “trivial and irrelevant.”

Prosecutors said the defense already knew most of what was in them.

 “To suggest that [this type of] additional impeachment evidence would have altered the outcome of the trial is absurd,” the prosecutors said.

As for Singh lying on the witness stand, prosecutors said that in the instances Keating cited, he mischaracterized Singh’s testimony to make it appear that the restaurateur's truthful answers were perjurious. Those instances included the time Singh had purchased properties in India, and whether leases for Mangano’s Bethpage election headquarters were forgeries. The defense claimed that the “forged” leases showed that Singh had not given Mangano a break on his headquarters rental, as prosecutors alleged.

In the case of a witness stating that Mangano had not pushed for the loans to Singh, prosecutors said that the witness, attorney William Savino, had said in testimony that he had originally thought his notes indicted that then Oyster Bay Town attorney Leonard Genova had pushed for the Singh loan. But Savino, a longtime Mangano friend, said he realized later that he was mistaken and it was Mangano whom he talked to.

The government said that the new material came from their re-examination of their case after the mistrial.

"Because the prosecutors take their obligations seriously, they re-examined their entire file after the first trial, and directed agents working on the case to do the same," the filings said. "The government took an expansive view of what was discoverable during this re-examination process and produced many materials that were marginally related to the case and that did not fall within any of the categories of discoverable materials."

The government's memo calls Mangano’s attacks on the prosecutors’ integrity as "unfounded and unfair."

The Manganos’ first trial lasted 12 weeks and ended in a mistrial on May 31.

The Manganos are being retried on the same charges.

During the trial, prosecutors contended that a flow of significant gifts from Singh to the Manganos began only after Edward Mangano became county executive and that they amounted to bribes.

Among the bribes prosecutors said Edward Mangano accepted from Singh were free meals, free vacations to destinations that included the Caribbean, two chairs each valued at more than $3,000, a $7,300 luxury watch for his son, hardwood flooring for his home, and a $450,000 no-show job for Linda Mangano.

In return, prosecutors charged that the former county executive got Singh two lucrative Nassau County contracts, each worth more than $200,000, and help obtaining $20 million in indirect loan guarantees from the Town of Oyster Bay. Former Town of Oyster Bay Supervisor John Venditto, a co-defendant in the case against the Manganos, was acquitted of multiple charges.

Defense attorneys staunchly maintained in the first trial that the items were just gifts based on friendship.

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