Ex-Oyster Bay Town Supervisor John Venditto found not guilty in corruption case

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Jurors found former Oyster Bay Town Supervisor John Venditto not guilty of all charges -- more than two dozen altogether -- Thursday in a federal corruption case.

The jury's foreman had earlier sent a note to the judge saying jurors had only made a unanimous decision on one defendant. The other defendants are former Nassau County Executive Ed Mangano and his wife, Linda.

"We are split on the other two," the note continued.

Venditto listened stoically as the jury foreman said not guilty. His wife wiped away tears, and his son, former state Sen. Michael Venditto, sat and pointed skyward as the jury delivered the verdict. The Vendittos have argued that the charges were politically motivated and designed to derail their political careers.

Throughout the trial, Venditto's defense attorney Marc Agnifilo had argued his client played no role in loan guarantees Oyster Bay Town had granted to Harendra Singh, the disgraced restaurateur who pleaded guilty to bribing officials and cooperated with prosecutors.

Evidently, jurors agreed with Venditto's argument.

"I knew it, and now the jury knows it, and the public knows it," Venditto said after the verdict. 

He credited Agnifilo, an elite defense attorney, for his work on the case and wondered aloud how many people may have been convicted because they had lesser lawyers working on their behalf.

"I see the power that the government has over a defendant," he said. "It made me wonder about how many people...are in jail today because maybe they couldn't get a lawyer the caliber I got to represent them."

Jurors are continuing deliberations on charges against the Manganos.

As News 12 Long Island has reported, the trial has stretched on for 11 weeks. Federal prosecutors accused the two former high-ranking Nassau officials of corruption and accepting bribes, among other charges. Linda Mangano is accused of lying to the FBI.

Jurors have spent the last five days deliberating and will return Friday.

Venditto is still facing unrelated state charges, but he said he's "ready for anything."

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