John Carman, Linda Mangano’s attorney, began his cross-examination of Harendra Singh Thursday by zeroing in on Singh’s memory skills.
“Mr. Singh, do you recall how many times you said, ‘I don’t recall’ while being questioned at trial by Assistant U.S. Attorney Catherine Mirabile?" Carman asked.
“I don’t know how many times,” Singh answered.
Carman asked the same question again — about Singh’s responses during cross-examinations, in interviews with government officials and during a “prior proceeding,” that is, during last year’s trial.
And each time Singh responded with some variation of no, or ‘I don’t know.'
Until Carman, in raising the question once again, asked, “How many times did that happen?”
“I don’t recall,” Singh said, as courtroom observers — who had been waiting for that exact response — broke into laughter.
Carman also pressed Singh about meetings he had with government officials to prepare for trial. Singh acknowledged that he had been given a copy of his testimony from the “prior proceeding” and that he had been allowed to bring the transcript to his Laurel Hollow home.
At one point Carman asked what Singh did with the transcript, “like use it for the doorstop at the house?”
There was an objection, which U.S. District Court Judge Joan Azrack sustained.
During cross-examination of FBI Special Agent Laura Spence last week, and during last year’s trial, Carman made much of the fact that Linda Mangano was not allowed to review or sign off on notes taken during her interviews with government officials.
Carman on Thursday asked Singh about notes taken with his sessions with federal officials as well.
“Did they ever show you those notes?” Carman asked.
“I never saw those notes,” Singh answered.
Carman then asked whether Singh had been shown FBI documents typed from interview notes.
“No,” he replied.
Carman then asked whether Singh knew that notes taken by Spence or other FBI agents were not word-by-word transcriptions.
Carman asked whether Singh knew that Spence and other FBI agents did not write down questions asked during interviews.
Then it was on to whether Spence used her own words in recording the gist of answers during government interviews.
“You can leave this area now,” Azrack said.
Truth or consequences
Singh, under cross-examination, acknowledged that he had lied to his parents, in business dealings, to friends and to others.
“Did you lie to judges?” Carman asked.
“No,” Singh replied.
“You never lied to a judge?” Carman pressed.
“No,” Singh replied, noting that to do so would break a condition of his bond.
Carman went on, at one point asking, “Can you tell me who you didn’t lie to?”
“Is it a shorter list than the last one?” Carman went on.
“I have done a lot of good things in my life as well,” Singh added, a question or so later.
What’s love got to do with it
“Did you love Ed and Linda Mangano?” Carman asked, after pressing Singh for his definition of friendship.
“Yeah, I loved them some,” Singh replied.
“Did you love Fred Mei?” Carman asked, referring to the former deputy Oyster Bay town attorney who has pleaded guilty to accepting bribes from Singh.
“I don’t know about love,” Singh replied. “I don’t know about love, he was not my brother.”
“Lenny Genova?” Carman pressed on, referring to the former Oyster Bay town attorney and deputy town supervisor who testified under a grant of immunity during the last trial.
Singh seemed to balk.
Carman then returned to his feelings about Linda and Edward Mangano.
“I knew them longer than anybody else,” Singh replied.
No one at the defense table, including the Manganos, appeared to be feeling Singh’s love.
Roll the tape
Earlier Thursday, Ed Mangano’s attorney, Kevin Keating, completed his third day of cross-examination by playing a 2015 taped conversation between Singh and Mei, who, at the government’s request, was wearing a wire.
A portion of the recording, which was played during the last trial, had been played earlier in the retrial as well.
This time around, however, Keating would stop the tape and question Singh about the conversation.
Keating stopped the recording 13 times.
Singh, on the tape, could be heard raising his voice and cursing — in stark contrast to the calm, if sometimes testy, demeanor he’s shown from the witness stand thus far.
But the verbal tussling between Keating and Singh continued to the end, even as Singh was pressed to expand upon some of the topics in the recording.
“Mr. Singh, I’ll ask the questions,” Keating told Singh at one point.
“I appreciate that, thank you,” Singh replied.
At that exchange, several jurors — by now well attuned to such jousting — turned to each other and chuckled.
During his testimony, Singh sometimes has been asked to specify what the word “we” — in texts, emails and in answers to prosecutors and defense attorneys — means.
The issue came up again Thursday afternoon as Carman walked Singh through a series of text exchanges with Linda Mangano.
At one point, Carman asked, “Does that [we] refer to the family ‘we’ or the royal ‘we,’ Harendra Singh?”
“I have a tendency to say 'we' at times,” Singh replied.
Back and forth
In one text projected onto the courtroom’s big screen Thursday afternoon, Linda Mangano asked Singh for the telephone number of a window washer.
Carman attempted to use it as yet another example of the close friendship Singh had with Linda Mangano.
“Linda Mangano called me when she needed something,” Singh said. “Without that, I never heard from her.”
At another point, Carman asked whether Singh had been sincere in expressions of friendship with the Mangano family.
“I was always sincere through everything I did,” Singh replied.
Still later, Carman chided Singh for, as part of a text exchange with Linda Mangano, telling her to have a good night.
“Have a good night with that flu . . .,” Carman remarked.
“I didn’t want to wish her a bad night,” Singh shot back — which precipitated a bout of laughter from jurors.