Former Nassau County Executive Edward Mangano, facing an October retrial on federal corruption charges, paid $900,000 from campaign funds to his criminal defense attorney during the first half of the year, according to campaign finance reports filed Monday with the state board of elections.
The 12-week trial of Mangano, his wife, Linda, and former Oyster Bay Supervisor John Venditto ended in May with a mistrial for the Manganos and an acquittal for Venditto. The Manganos’ retrial is scheduled to start Oct. 9 at federal court in Central Islip.
Mangano, a Republican who served two terms as Nassau County Executive from 2010 through the end of last year, did not run for a third term. Elected officials can use campaign accounts to pay for their criminal defense bills under state election law. The "Friends of Ed Mangano" account now has a balance of $95,668.48.
The account made three payments to Garden City lawyer Kevin Keating, according to the July report: $300,000, dated Jan. 17; $400,000 on May 7; and $200,000 on May 23. "Friends of Ed Mangano" has paid Keating $1.23 million since May 2015, according to the filings.
“First of all, out of the money that went to me, there were significant co-counsel fees, court reporter fees, investigative fees and other fees,” Keating said in an interview. “The interesting issue is, what did the government spend on this case?” Keating asked, noting the assignment of multiple prosecutors, FBI agents and paralegals to the case.
John Marzulli, a spokesman for the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District, said his office had no comment.
Keating added that “people are just lining up in support” to help Mangano with his finances. “Fortunately, people are coming out of the woodwork in support of Mr. Mangano, as we begin to gear up for the next round of this case,” Keating said, adding that his support network includes friends, family and “people he doesn’t know.”
The charges against the former county executive include federal program bribery, honest-services wire fraud, extortion and conspiracy to obstruct justice. Linda Mangano is charged with making false statement to the FBI, obstruction of justice, and conspiracy to obstruct justice.
Other payments from the campaign account included $1,627.47 for a court reporting service.
Other former elected officials from Long Island have used their campaign accounts to pay legal bills, the July filings show.
The account of former State Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos (R-Rockville Centre), who was convicted in his retrial on federal corruption charges, paid $400,000 to the Manhattan law firm Gage, Spencer and Fleming LLP on Feb. 7. Former Suffolk County District Attorney Thomas Spota paid $150,000 on Jan. 17 to the Manhattan law firm Covington & Burling LLP. Spota and a former top aide, Christopher McPartland, are accused of helping to cover up an assault by former Suffolk County police chief James Burke. Spota, McPartland, and Skelos had pleaded not guilty. Attorneys for Spota and Skelos could not immediately be reached for comment.