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Power on Trial: Jury begins second day of deliberations

Former Nassau County Executive Edward Mangano, left, and

Former Nassau County Executive Edward Mangano, left, and ex-Town of Oyster Bay Supervisor John Venditto leave federal court in Central Islip on Dec. 5, 2017. Credit: Composite photo; Newsday / Thomas A. Ferrara

Deliberations, Day 2

As jurors gathered Monday in a room outside the view of the courtroom, prosecutors, defendants and defense attorneys gathered in the courtroom.

By 9 a.m., everyone was present.

And as the minutes wore on, more and more family members and supporters of the defendants in the federal corruption trial — Edward Mangano, Nassau’s former county executive, Linda Mangano, his wife, and John Venditto, Oyster Bay’s former town supervisor — joined the crowd in the courtroom in Central Islip, too.

At one point, Edward Mangano’s attorney, Kevin Keating, sat in the last spectator row talking to supporters, rather than at his usual spot at the defense table. Venditto’s attorney, Marc Agnifilo, spent some time near the spectator benches, too.

As U.S. District Judge Joan M. Azrack had instructed, the jury in the federal corruption trial would not begin its work until all jurors were present.

At a little after 9:30 a.m., Assistant U.S. Attorneys Raymond Tierney, Catherine Mirabile and Lara Treinis Gatz stood and began to leave.

Prosecutors will await the verdict in their offices.

Somewhere near 9:30 a.m., jurors began their second day of deliberations.

At 4:30 p.m., jurors sent out a note saying that they could not agree on “certain items.”

Azrack, after the jury filed into the courtroom for dismissal, told them to get a good night’s sleep, and that she would deal with the note in the morning.

Which means that on Tuesday, the wait begins — again.


Jurors have a lot to consider during deliberations — and a lot of reference material to help.

During 10 weeks of testimony, several jurors took notes on what looked to be mini yellow legal pads. Some jurors took a few notes; some took a lot — although the panel was not allowed to take notes during final arguments.

Those who took notes during testimony can use their notes — should they choose — during deliberations.

But Azrack, in instructing the panel, told them how those notes were to be used.

“Your notes are to be used solely to assist you,” she said, reading from the instructions, “and are not a substitute for your recollection of evidence in the case.”

“The fact that a certain juror took notes,” she went on, “entitles that juror’s views to no greater weight than those of any other juror.”

In addition, she said, jurors who took notes should not show their notes to fellow jurors.

On exhibit

Jurors also can consult exhibits — more than 1,000 of them.

Many of those exhibits, which include emails and telephone records, are on paper. Others consist of video and audio recordings, including one from a wire worn by Frederick Mei, Oyster Bay’s former town attorney, who recorded a conversation with former restaurateur Harendra Singh.

As for witnesses — and there were 60 — jurors can request to have testimony read back by a clerk reporter in open court.

Or have testimony handed back to them in a written transcript.

On Monday, jurors, as they had requested on Friday, were given transcripts of the testimony of FBI Special Agent Laura Spence.

She testified on falsehoods she said Linda Mangano told agents and prosecutors during multiple interviews.

As morning turned to afternoon Monday, jurors asked for transcripts of testimony of four more witnesses. Two of them had testified about Nassau’s handling of a contract for bread and rolls at the county jail, which went to Singh’s wife, who later turned it down. Two others testified about Singh’s contract to provide food for emergency workers,

Take action

At about 10 a.m. Monday, Azrack welcomed John Carman, Linda Mangano’s attorney, who had communicated by cellphone Friday as he attended his daughter’s graduation, back to the courtroom.

Then she asked about plans for Wednesday, if there is a verdict. Carman is slated to attend the law school graduation of another daughter that day.

He said he expected the ceremony to end by 10 a.m., and that he planned to have lunch with the family afterward.

“You need to get in the car and get back in here and miss lunch,” Azrack said, in a voice that meant business.

“When we call, you need to take action,” she said.

Take note

Whenever jurors send a note, Azrack’s courtroom deputy or her clerk, walks into the courtroom, hands copies of notes to both sides, and to reporters who happen to be present.

As a result, almost every time the courtroom deputy or clerk, walk in all eyes face front.

At 3:09 p.m. Monday, the deputy entered the courtroom, carrying what appeared to be a single sheet of paper.

As the crowd began to grow still, she said, “I don’t have anything” — at which the noise level rose again.

Courtroom bound

Each time jurors request transcripts, prosecutors and defense attorneys have to do a review of a “sanitized” document — that is, one scrubbed of mistakes, withdrawn statements, sidebars and other information the judge and lawyers determine the jury should not see.

At one point before one discussion, Azrack entered the courtroom to find that lawyers and defense attorneys were not there.

Except for Marc Agnifilo, Venditto’s attorney.

“You’re always here,” Azrack said.

“I have nowhere else to go,” Agnifilo quipped.

Praise for prosecutors, defense

On Friday, the first day of jury deliberations, the courtroom seemed quieter and more relaxed that during trial.

It was as if prosecutors, lawyers, defendants and spectators — for a moment at least — had a chance to take a breath.

At one point, court officials wheeled in a large blue recycling bin, into which some defense attorneys deposited paperwork they’d accumulated before and during the trial.

Prosecutors were able to wheel a parade of binder-heavy carts out of the courtroom, into elevators and down to their offices.

Before the sides began the break down, however, Azrack — after jurors left the room — took a minute to praise them.

“I want to say,” she said, looking from the bench toward the tables where defense attorneys, on one side, and prosecutors, on the other, were standing, “it was an extremely well-tried case and the advocacy was excellent.”

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