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Power on Trial: The waiting begins in earnest

Edward and Linda Mangano arrive at federal court

Edward and Linda Mangano arrive at federal court in Central Islip on Monday. Credit: James Carbone

No snow day

Weather notwithstanding, jurors began their first full day of deliberations in the retrial of Edward Mangano, Nassau’s former county executive, and Linda Mangano, his wife, at 9:45 a.m. Monday, just 15 minutes after the scheduled start time.

Just as in the first trial last year, the jurors went straight to the jury room.

The Manganos and their supporters spent much of the morning in the courthouse cafeteria, leaving the courtroom’s spectator benches almost empty, save for an ever-growing number of reporters.

Prosecutors came and went; as did the Manganos' defense attorneys.

But, unlike the early hours of deliberations during the last trial, the area outside the courtroom remained mostly deserted for much of the day.

U.S. District Judge Joan Azrack handled other courtroom matters, among them a plea from a defendant who acknowledged that he shot a man, in part, because he wanted to win points with a gang.

She also heard from attorneys working a case about a fall in grocery store, during which there was considerable and robust discussion as to whether anyone could scream, uninterrupted, for a full 21 minutes.

Azrack made clear that she didn’t think so.

A note from the jury

Word spread quickly, and for a time, quietly, just after noon, when the jury sent its first note to Azrack.

But that didn’t last long.

The Manganos appeared at the defense table. And so did their attorneys, including Kevin Keating and John Carman.

Edward Mangano’s mother and father, and Linda Mangano’s best friend also filed in.

A court official handed the handwritten note to prosecutors and defense attorneys.

It also was shown to a scrum of reporters who were allowed to read and write down the contents.

“The jury wishes to hear the testimony of the highlighter of pink and yellow … during Agent Spence’s testimony,” the note said.

It was signed by the foreman, and showed Monday’s date, and a time: 12:20 p.m.

At 12:50 p.m., Azrack took the bench and announced there had been a note. She read it aloud, before instructing prosecutors and defense attorneys to agree on testimony that would be handed over to jurors in transcript form.

Pink pen, yellow pen

With the note, jurors were asking to see testimony from FBI Special Agent Laura Spence, who testified about notes of conversations federal agents and prosecutors had with Linda Mangano on three occasions.

The jury note referenced a trial exhibit — No. 55 — which is a list of 11 statements from Linda Mangano that prosecutors contend were false. Ten of those statements deal with a no-show job she had with former restaurateur and Mangano family friend Harendra Singh.

The defense and prosecution both had made much of No. 55.

During cross-examination, John Carman, Linda Mangano’s attorney, went, word by word, through every statement, as his co-counsel, pink highlighter in hand, colored every word that was not in Spence’s notes.

On redirect, Assistant U.S. Attorney Christopher Caffarone, did the same — with Assistant U.S. Attorney Lara Treinis Gatz, who had a yellow highlighter — coloring every word of Mangano’s statements that also were included in FBI 302 interview forms.

Both sheets — one highlighted mostly in pink, the other mostly in yellow -- are exhibits that are now in the jury room.

Transcript triage

Azrack came out to the bench a second time to decide what parts of Spence’s testimony would go back to the jury. That’s because prosecutors and Carman did not agree on what portions jurors should see.

The nature of the disagreement was not aired in court; however, Azrack accepted Carman’s view. With that, prosecutors and defense attorneys left the courtroom to decide what portions of the transcript would be cut, or redacted, before the transcript went to jurors.

Jurors, in the meantime, presumably continued to deliberate.

Azrack, during her instructions, had warned the panel that some time could elapse between their asking for information, and receiving it.

And we wait

Noon turned to 1 and then to 2, 3, and 4 p.m.

By 4:40, the courtroom began to fill again.

Edward and Linda Mangano, once more, took their seats at the defense table.

Prosecutors came in as well.

It was just after 5 p.m. when word came that the jury was done for the day.

The courtroom emptied — quickly.

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