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Jurors in Mangano-Venditto case say they can’t ‘agree on certain items’

Linda and Edward Mangano arrive at federal court

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

This story was reported by Nicole Fuller, Robert E. Kessler, Chau Lam, Bridget Murphy, Emily Ngo and Andrew Smith. It was written by Ngo.

Jurors ended their second day of deliberations Monday in the federal corruption trial of former Nassau County Executive Edward Mangano and former Oyster Bay Town Supervisor John Venditto by sending the judge a note saying they cannot come to “an agreement on certain items.”

In response, U.S. District Judge Joan M. Azrack adjourned court for the day, telling jurors to get rest.

It’s been “a long day of deliberations,” she said. “Let’s see where you are tomorrow morning.”

Azrack earlier told prosecutors and defense attorneys that she was not yet planning on giving the jury an Allen charge — or an instruction to find a way to put aside differences to reach a verdict.

“I can say affirmatively, I’m not giving them an Allen charge on day three ... certainly not day two,” Azrack said.

The trial is now in its 11th week in Central Islip, where prosecutors have put forth 60 witnesses and more than 1,100 pieces of evidence that they say make their case that Mangano and Venditto abused their public offices by taking bribes from restaurateur Harendra Singh in exchange for helping him secure a pair of county contracts and more than $20 million in town-guaranteed loans.

Jurors asked Monday for information that relates to the county contracts that Edward Mangano is alleged to have steered to Singh.

They wanted to review two county employees’ testimony about a county jail bread-and-rolls contract that a Singh business won by default in 2012.

Witnesses testified that the contract was set to go to a lower bidder until then-chief deputy county executive Rob Walker intervened. The bakery, run by Singh’s wife, in the end abandoned the contract, citing insufficient resources.

Jurors then asked for the testimony of two other county employees who had described events surrounding the award of Singh’s contract to provide meals for emergency workers in the wake of superstorm Sandy, also in 2012.

It was a no-bid, emergency contract but witnesses testified that another vendor had been poised to receive it.

Jurors received copies of the transcripts for the testimony of Michael Schlenoff, director of the Nassau County office of purchasing; Linda Mills, who formerly worked in the office; John Maguire, a former county emergency management official; and Heather McNeill, a former county emergency management employee.

They also got copies of the transcript they had requested Friday of the testimony by an FBI agent who had interviewed Mangano’s wife, Linda, about what prosecutors say was her no-show job with Singh.

The charges against Edward Mangano, 56, of Bethpage, and Venditto, 68, of North Massapequa, include conspiracy to commit federal program bribery and honest-services wire fraud, extortion for Mangano and securities fraud for Venditto.

The charges against Linda Mangano, 54, of Bethpage, are conspiracy to obstruct justice, obstruction of justice and making false statements to the FBI.

The three have pleaded not guilty.

Prosecutors say the elected officials accepted from Singh, also a town concessionaire, such bribes as a no-show job paying $450,000 for Linda Mangano; free vacations for the Mangano family; and free limousine services for Venditto, his aides and his family members.

The jury of seven women and five men began its deliberations Friday morning, and the foreman sent a handwritten note requesting a “read back” of testimony from FBI Special Agent Laura Spence, who testified that Linda Mangano lied to federal authorities about her job.

John Carman of Garden City, Linda Mangano’s attorney, on Monday maintained his objection to the release of the testimony transcript.

Marc Agnifilo of Manhattan, who represents Venditto, said of jurors’ end-of-day note: “I think they probably agree on a couple of things. And they disagree on a couple of things. And they’re looking for some measure of guidance in regard to things that they don’t agree on.”

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