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Judge sends Mangano jury back to work after 'deadlocked' note

Linda and Edward Mangano arrive at federal court

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

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

Jurors declared they were deadlocked Wednesday in the federal corruption trial of former Nassau County Executive Edward Mangano and his wife, Linda, but they returned to their deliberations at the direction of the judge.

“Remember that each of you took an oath . . . to render a true verdict,” U.S. District Judge Joan M. Azrack told them.

The seven women and five men of the jury did not reach a verdict before court adjourned for the day, and they will convene again Thursday for the ninth day of their deliberations.

The Manganos’ trial in Central Islip began March 12 with jury selection before a snowstorm struck and now nears the end of its 12th week amid summery heat.

Both the judge and Edward Mangano’s defense attorney referenced the case’s length Wednesday.

Azrack did so in encouraging jurors to deliberate for longer, giving them an Allen charge — or instructions to carry on their considerations in pursuit of a verdict.

Kevin Keating of Garden City did so in arguing that the jury room environment has “worsened” as the trial wears on.

Earlier in the day, around noon, jurors sent a note to Azrack.

“We are deadlocked,” they wrote.

Keating and John Carman of Garden City, Linda Mangano’s lawyer, responded by requesting a mistrial.

It was their second such motion in two days.

Azrack again denied the request.

She instead gave jurors the Allen charge, saying that for a long trial: “It’s not unusual for deliberations to last a number of days.”

She added: “It is desirable for you to reach a unanimous verdict if you can.”

About 45 minutes after their note, jurors resumed their deliberations of the charges against the Manganos, who prosecutors say benefited from bribes that Edward Mangano accepted from restaurateur Harendra Singh in exchange for boosts to Singh’s businesses.

Prosecutors sought over the weeks to make their case that Mangano exploited his public position and steered to Singh two county contracts and more than $20 million in Oyster Bay-guaranteed loans — in exchange for a no-show job for Linda Mangano that paid $450,000 between April 2010 and August 2014, free meals, free vacations and other perks.

Defense attorneys said as they left court Wednesday that they believe there was much tension in jurors’ closed-door sessions.

“There appear to be deep divisions, and this jury has worked long and hard evaluating the evidence,” Keating said. “We continue to remain confident.”

Carman said: “There’s something going on in that room that’s really intense, and to try to get 12 people to agree about what happened over . . . weeks of testimony is a tough thing to do.”

Jurors have faced a roller coaster this past week.

Last Thursday, they acquitted the Manganos’ former co-defendant, one-time Oyster Bay Town Supervisor John Venditto, on the 27 corruption-related counts against him.

The partial verdict came after jurors said they had reached a consensus on one defendant but were split on the others.

On Friday, they worked through the day without sending notes to indicate their progress, if any.

Then, on Tuesday, a juror failed to report for duty and instead sent a note from her doctor as well as a note giving insight into the deliberations.

She was dismissed and replaced with an alternate.

Azrack instructed the jury to begin “anew” in its discussions.

Keating cited dismissed Juror No. 5’s note Tuesday in his first motion for a mistrial, saying it described “cursing” and “name-calling” in the jury room.

He referenced it again Wednesday, saying the jury “abdicated their responsibility” by allegedly stopping their deliberations last Friday.

The case was supposed to be made in eight weeks but has gone on for 12, he said.

“The atmosphere in the jury room appears to have worsened,” he said.

“They haven’t been deadlocked until today,” Azrack noted later in the exchange.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Lara Treinis Gatz said the note from Juror No. 5 — who Treinis Gatz said sat during the trial in a “fetal position” and was “not making eye contact” — was “not representative of the jury.”

Edward Mangano, 56, of Bethpage, faces charges that include federal program bribery, honest-services wire fraud, extortion and conspiracy to obstruct justice charges,

Linda Mangano, 54, also of Bethpage, faces charges of conspiracy to obstruct justice, obstruction of justice and making false statements to the FBI — all in relation to her job with Singh.

They have pleaded not guilty.

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