Judge Declares Mistrial In Politician Corruption Case
CENTRAL ISLIP, N.Y. (AP) — After a jury deadlocked following nine days of deliberations, a judge Thursday declared a mistrial in a federal corruption trial that accused former Nassau County Executive Edward Mangano of accepting bribes, kickbacks and a $100,000-a-year no-show job for his wife.
U.S. District Judge Joan Azrack made the decision after the jury failed to reach a consensus.
"I can no longer carry out my duties as a juror," jury foreman Marc Tambassopoulos wrote. "I wish to be excused."
The indictment alleged that Mangano helped Long Island businessman Harendra Singh obtain guaranteed loans in exchange for bribes and kickbacks. Singh was on the witness stand 12 days for the prosecution.
Mangano's eyes filled with tears as he hugged the jury foreman.
"This is an emotionally painful, physically hurtful experience that I would not wish on anyone who didn't deserve it," Mangano said later. "I'm still processing all the emotions that go through you, but I'm obviously relieved we are going home."
The foreman said the jury tried to be as fair as possible.
"Personally, I think they were innocent," Tambassopoulos said. "They were best friends for 30 years and if I'm best friends for 30 years and I'm rich and I want to give my friend a present ... how are you going to say it's a bribe."
The judge scheduled a June 28 conference to set a new trial. The U.S. Attorney's Office did not comment on the mistrial, but said it intends to retry the Manganos.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Raymond Tierney said the alleged kickbacks included a $7,000 watch for Mangano's son, hardwood bedroom flooring worth thousands of dollars and a $3,600 massage chair.
Defense lawyer Kevin Keating said Mangano handled millions of dollars in contracts while serving as Nassau County executive, and that Singh only benefited from one contract worth $230,000 to feed first responders after Superstorm Sandy. Keating added that it was the county health commissioner, not Mangano, who picked Singh to feed workers after the October 2012 storm.
The Manganos said they had a two-decade personal friendship with Singh, long before Mangano was elected, and that any gifts or favors between the families had nothing to do with his office.
Prosecutors said Linda Mangano was given a $100,000-a-year, no-show job at one of Singh's restaurants, enabling her to make $450,000 over several years while doing little besides tasting food.
"Sometimes in the darkest times of your life, you realize how blessed you are," she said outside the courthouse.
"That jury, I give them so much credit for being there day after day and I'm really just thankful," Linda Mangano said.
Former Oyster Bay Town Supervisor John Venditto was acquitted in the case last Thursday after pleading not guilty to charges including bribery and wire fraud. He had been the town's supervisor for two decades until his resignation in January 2017.
As part of his own criminal case, Singh pleaded guilty to paying bribes to New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio in the form of campaign contributions, in an attempt to resolve a dispute with the city over a restaurant lease there.
The Democratic mayor was not prosecuted. He denied taking any bribes and suggested Singh pleaded guilty only because he was desperate to get leniency for other corrupt acts.
The jury began its deliberations in the Mangano case on May 18. It had to start over on Tuesday when a juror was replaced with an alternate.