Judge declares mistrial in politician corruption case

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CENTRAL ISLIP, N.Y. — 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 judge scheduled a June 28 conference to set a new trial.

After the judge’s decision, Mangano said he kept thinking of a bible verse, Psalm 35 from the New International Version of the Bible, which says in part, “fight against those who fight against me.”

“That’s what’s going through my head. From the day I was accused, throughout the trial, to this very verdict,” Mangano said.

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.

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.

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.

The jury began its deliberations on May 18. It had to start over on Tuesday when a juror was replaced with an alternate.

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