“Good morning,” said Kevin Keating, the attorney for former Nassau County Executive Edward Mangano, jumping right in to tell jurors as he continued his summation Tuesday. “I want to remind you of the law.”
From there — much as the prosecution had done in defining legal terms Monday — Keating wanted to explain what “formal government action” meant.
Or, more to his argument, what it did not mean.
“Attending a meeting is not a formal government action,” he said. It was an apparent reference to an April 2010 meeting Mangano attended during which there were discussions of whether the Town of Oyster Bay could back loans for Harendra Singh.
“Expressing support for a position is not a formal government action,” Keating said.
As the morning wore on, Keating built alternative scenarios to counter testimony from Singh and other witnesses. And he spoke more softly — and sometimes almost inaudibly for spectators — than he had Monday afternoon.
But Keating wasn’t speaking to the courtroom, he was speaking to the jury.
At several points, he picked up copies of text messages or phone records or even some of the government’s sophisticated graphics to show the jury.
Unlike the government, however, Keating didn’t put them on the courtroom’s big screen.
Instead, he leaned in toward jurors, often pointing to what he wanted them to see.
In several instances, a few jurors leaned in toward Keating too.
Dissecting the testimony
Keating — who by lunch break Tuesday had, over two days, talked for almost four and a half hours — picked through testimony, witnesses’ previous statements and other materials to make points in Mangano’s defense.
Keating used a conversation with Singh — recorded by Frederick Mei, Oyster Bay’s former town attorney, who had agreed to wear a wire — to make the argument that Mei himself had stated that Edward Mangano had nothing to do with town-backed loans for Singh.
“Their own cooperator said, 'That’s not true,'” Keating said, “and they didn’t call him as a witness.”
Keating also used the yearslong relationship between Singh and Oyster Bay to argue that Singh — despite his testimony to the contrary — hardly needed Mangano’s intercession to get facetime with John Venditto, the town’s former supervisor, to push for town-backed loans.
“He had full, unfettered access to John Venditto for 12 years,” Keating said, his voice rising. “Harendra Singh built a conference room for him.”
To do, or not to do
Keating, throughout his summation, also made much of what prosecutors did not do in presenting their case.
He said they did not call Mei — who testified last year — to testify at the Mangano retrial.
He said more than once that prosecutors did not solicit redirect testimony from Singh after defense attorneys had cross-examined the witness.
He said that although the government subpoenaed cellphone records for witnesses, including Leonard Genova — Oyster Bay’s former town attorney, who testified at both trials under a grant of immunity — they never sought landline records from the several locations that could have helped flesh out what was happening.
Keating said prosecutors never solicited testimony from Singh or other witnesses about the town’s relationship with Singh before 2010 — when Mangano was elected — or after some of the town-backed loans had been approved.
Keating took the same tack in addressing the government’s graphics, or “charts” as he called them.
“There was no context,” he said, in discussing one graphic of telephone calls, which included some between Mangano and Singh. “It’s almost as if they don’t look at … other months.”
As he did during the first trial, Keating used every opportunity to try to shred Singh’s credibility, and with it, the prosecution’s case.
In going after one government graphic, Keating noted a line that said Singh had paid for no vacations for the Mangano family before 2010.
Last week, in cross-examining the FBI agent who put the chart together, Keating asked where the information came from.
The agent said it came from testimony in a prior proceeding, Keating reminded jurors yesterday.
“From who?” Keating said, referring to the earlier testimony.
“Harendra Singh,” he quoted the agent as saying.
With a shrug, and what appeared to be a knowing look at the jury, Keating moved on to other matters.
As he had in pretrial motions, Keating again put forth the notion that notes taken by William Savino — an attorney for the Rivkin Radler firm, which helped craft a solution to help Singh get town-backed loans — may have come from a conversation the lawyer had with Genova, rather than with Mangano.
“The notes are headed Len Genova and it is the same content,” Keating said, referring to a conversation that phone records show Savino had with Genova.
Savino testified during the retrial that the notes were taken from a conversation he had with Mangano.
Keating, however, argued to jurors that there was no way Mangano could have been aware of specifics — such as Mei’s telephone number — that appear in the notes.
In addition, Keating told jurors, “Bill Savino was driving at that moment in time when Ed Mangano called him.”
So how, he asked jurors, could Savino have taken such neat notes?
For almost six hours over two days, Keating took jurors through almost every witness and several exhibits.
On Monday, his presentation seemed scattershot.
On Tuesday — when Keating seemed almost to restart his summation — he was slower, moving thematically and with deliberation through the allegations against Mangano.
But the cool Keating showed for most of Tuesday evaporated in the final minutes of his summation.
He told jurors that on Wednesday they would hear from John Carman, Linda Mangano’s attorney, and then from Assistant U.S. Attorney Christopher Caffarone.
“They get to go again,” Keating said, “and I don’t get to say anything.”
His face began to redden.
And his voice rose.
“I am going to ask you to try to remember,” he said, going on to summarize some of what he had told jurors earlier.
“Please remember,” he repeated, as his voice began to crack.
By this point, jurors — many of whom had been glancing at watches or the courtroom clock as Keating’s summation neared 4 p.m. — all had their eyes turned toward him.
“I know at times that you didn’t want to be here and you’re still here,” Keating said.
“I ask you to do justice,” he went on, “ … and thank you for your attention.”