Manganos, Venditto await jury’s verdict

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Manganos, Venditto await jury’s verdict
Nassau County Executive Edward Mangano, as seen leaving the federal courthouse in Central Islip in 2017. (Photo by Joe Nikic)

Former Nassau County Executive Edward Mangano, his wife, Linda, and former Town of Oyster Bay Supervisor John Venditto waited on Wednesday for the conclusion of their 10-week corruption trial.

The jury’s verdict, whenever it is delivered at the federal District Court in Central Islip, will bring to a close the year-and-a-half saga that began when the three were arrested in October 2016.

The jury began deliberations on Friday and continued to discuss the verdicts through Wednesday afternoon. The most recent message from the group came on Tuesday afternoon and stated that jurors couldn’t agree on certain items, according to Newsday.

The jury consists of seven women and five men, according to Newsday. Over the course of the trial, they have heard from 60 witnesses and were presented with 1,100 pieces of evidence.

Edward Mangano and Venditto are charged with conspiracy to commit federal program bribery and honest services wire fraud. Mangano was additionally charged with extortion and Venditto with securities fraud.

Linda Mangano is charged with conspiracy to obstruct justice, making false statements to the FBI and obstruction of justice. All three pleaded not guilty.

Restaurateur Harendra Singh testified in the early weeks of the trial that he had showered the Manganos with free meals, gifts and a $450,000 no-show job for Linda Mangano in exchange for lucrative deals and county contracts. Singh said that Venditto received similar treatment, giving the town supervisor free meals and limousine rides in exchange for millions in loan guarantees backed by Oyster Bay.

Aside from Friday, most of last week was dominated by the closing arguments for both sides. Assistant U.S. Attorney Raymond Tierney laid out the prosecutors’ case earlier in the week, stating that Mangano and Venditto had used their power to enrich themselves.

“They traded their office for money, plain and simple,” he said, according to Newsday.

Last Wednesday and Thursday, defense attorneys for both the Manganos and Venditto used their closing statements to claim that Singh, the prosecution’s star witness, was not trustworthy.

“Basically he thought he was going to die in prison,” said Linda Mangano’s attorney, John Carman, according to Newsday. “Singh’s honesty problem is relevant to your analysis of the case.”

Edward Mangano’s attorney Kevin Keating said something similar, saying that Singh was only saying what he thought would get him out of trouble.

But the harshest words of all came from Venditto’s attorney Marc Agnifilio.

“Harendra Singh is a sociopath and nobody in the Town of Oyster Bay saw him coming,” he said, according to Newsday.

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