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Federal judge delays Mangano sentencings due to coronavirus

Former Nassau County Executive Edward Mangano and his

Former Nassau County Executive Edward Mangano and his wife, Linda, arrive at federal court in Central Islip on March 5, 2019. Credit: James Carbone

A federal judge Tuesday delayed the sentencings of former Nassau County Executive Edward Mangano and his wife, Linda, on corruption charges until at least June because of the coronavirus pandemic.

The request for a delay came from federal prosecutors who said they need more time to reply to defense motions, citing “the ongoing health crisis, the delays attending to transitioning to telework and the need to respond to various emergency applications in other matters.” 

The “emergency applications” are an apparent reference to the growing number of detainees in federal jails and prisons petitioning to be released to home detention because of fear of contracting the coronavirus in institutions, and their inability to meet with their attorneys during the lockdowns there.

The Manganos are out on bail since they were convicted of corruption charges in March 2019.

The ruling for the delay by U.S. District Joan Azrack was in response to a request by Eastern District federal prosecutors Catherine Mirabile, Lara Treinis Gatz, and Christopher Caffarone.

In their request late Monday, the prosecutors said that Kevin Keating, Edward Mangano’s lawyer did not object to the delay, nor did Linda Mangano’s lawyer, John Carman.

As in most matters before federal and state courts during the epidemic, the request and ruling were done electronically.

The Manganos were convicted in March 2019 and originally scheduled to be sentenced in October by Azrack . But the sentencing date has been postponed three times — first until December, then until March, and more recently to an unspecified date.

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Among the reasons for Azrack granting the delays were: the presentencing report by the federal probation officials was not completed; one defense attorney wanted more time to file motions, partly because he was tied up at an unrelated trial; and federal prosecutors initially wanted more time to respond to defense motions asking that the case be thrown out or that the Manganos get a new trial.

Delays in federal sentencing are not unusual.

When the Manganos’ sentencing was delayed from October to December, Keating said: “Maybe one in ten federal sentences are actually imposed on the initial date.”

When in February Azrack delayed the March sentencing, she did not set a new sentencing date. Azrack said she would wait until both sides had completed their post-trial motions and she had ruled on them.

Defense attorneys have argued that the Manganos should get a new trial or have some of the counts thrown out based on what the lawyers say is new evidence and a recent appeals court ruling.

The new evidence involved the key government witness in the Mangano cases, former restaurant owner Harendra Singh, allegedly committing perjury by contradicting his testimony at the Mangano trial in a deposition in an unrelated civil case.

The appeals court ruling involves the case of former Speaker of the Assembly Sheldon Silver. In the Silver case, the Second Circuit threw out several charges against the former speaker based on when the statute of limitations expires on a corrupt act by a politician.

Tuesday marked the day that federal prosecutors were supposed to respond to those defense motions.

In her ruling Tuesday, Azrack agreed with the prosecutors that they should have until May 22 to file their motions, and that defense attorneys should reply by June 5. That would mean that the very earliest the Mangano sentencing would be June, and probably several months later.

Edward Mangano was convicted of conspiracy to commit federal program bribery, federal program bribery, conspiracy to commit honest services wire fraud, honest services wire fraud , and conspiracy to commit obstruction of justice.

Linda Mangano was convicted of conspiracy to obstruct justice, obstruction of justice, and two counts of making false statements to FBI agents.

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