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Nerves, then dismay for Manganos as verdict comes in

Attorney Kevin Keating, left, comforts Linda and Edward

Attorney Kevin Keating, left, comforts Linda and Edward Mangano outside federal court in Central Islip Friday after the former Nassau County executive and his wife were convicted on corruption charges.   Credit: James Carbone

The jury had been deliberating for six days, and now the verdict was moments away.

Linda Mangano sat at the defense table, crossed herself with shaking hands and held her rosary. Edward Mangano jotted notes and nervously tapped his hands on the defense table. His hands also began to shake.

After a brief delay, in which Edward Mangano appeared to pray, the judge asked foreman Joseph Marino to deliver the verdict.

With the first conviction for Edward Mangano, the former county executive bowed his head and his wife began to weep.

Inside the courtroom packed with federal authorities, family members, supporters of the Manganos and a slew of journalists, a mix of guilty and not guilty verdicts for the Bethpage couple rolled in.

“It’s not fair,” Edward Mangano said to a supporter once the entire verdict was read on the bribery and extortion charges against him, and the obstruction of justice counts against his wife.

While Linda Mangano never hid the tears streaming down her cheeks, her husband appeared mostly stone-faced and composed, even as he later lamented the emotional and financial impact the trial and retrial had on him and his family.

“We remain confident that we’ll be vindicated,” said the former county executive, speaking outside the courthouse next to his attorney Kevin Keating less than an hour after he was convicted. “It’s a tough legal system. It’s a brutal legal system. It’s a long, long emotionally draining tough system. Financially draining. It is really, really difficult on our family. On Linda especially, my kids, my parents. … Unfortunately, our system is much less a quest for the truth than it is to convict at almost any chance.”

Mangano added: “I’m very proud of my service as county executive. I would not and could not be bribed by anyone. I would not allow it. The jury saw that.”

The aftermath of Friday’s conviction was a different scene from last year, when the former top county politician’s first trial on the same charges ended in a mistrial and he hugged the jury foreman and thanked him.

Attorneys for the couple, unhappy and drained after the seven-week retrial, vowed to battle on.

“We will appeal aggressively, vigorously and we will continue our fight,” Keating said.

John Carman, Linda Mangano’s attorney, said of the verdict: “It’s frankly beyond explanation for us … It is heartbreaking. It’s absolutely shocking.”

Linda Mangano thanked her family and supporters, including her best friend of decades who showed up virtually every day at both trials.

“I guess there’s a sense of relief that it’s over, but I can’t stop fighting for what’s right,” she said, her voice cracking.

On the prosecution side, there was quiet celebration.

U.S. Attorney Richard Donoghue congratulated the trial prosecutors — Catherine Mirabile, Christopher Caffarone and Lara Treinis Gatz — and FBI Special Agent Laura Spence in the courtroom once the verdict was announced.

Donoghue, flanked by the prosecutors and agents who worked the case, delivered a statement outside the courthouse where the Manganos and their attorneys had spoken shortly before.

“There is a lesson here for every elected and appointed official,” Donoghue said. “When you work for the public, you work for the public and only the public. Your reward is your paycheck and the satisfaction of public service and not jewelry, lavish vacations and no-show jobs.”

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