Opening statements delivered in Mangano corruption retrial

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CENTRAL ISLIP -

Opening statements were delivered in the corruption retrial of former Nassau County Executive Ed Mangano Tuesday in Central Islip federal court.

Last spring, Mangano and his wife Linda were facing federal charges and walked after an 11-week trial ended with a hung jury. The jury did find former Oyster Bay Town Supervisor John Venditto not guilty on a slew of charges, but was unable to reach a verdict on the Manganos.

"This is a case of corruption and greed at the highest levels of county government," federal prosecutor Lara Gatz told the new jury in opening statements Tuesday.

Gatz said the Manganos received expensive gifts, vacations and a $100,000 a year no-show job for Linda Mangano from restaurateur Harendra Singh in exchange for official government action. Gatz laid out what she called a list of schemes that show how Mangano exerted his political influence to help Singh benefit financially. Gatz told the jury that when the FBI started investigating, Linda Mangano lied to federal agents.

"She made it her absolute mission to lie and mislead federal agents when answering that $100,000 question," Gatz said.

When it was the defense's turn, Kevin Keating, who represents Ed Mangano, said there was never a quid-pro-quo relationship between his client and Singh. He also began to detail some of the serious financial crimes to which Singh has already pleaded guilty, telling the jury, "it will knock your eyes out...it will knock your socks off."

Singh will testify against the Manganos as part of a cooperation agreement with the government, but unlike the first trial, he is not the prosecution's lead witness.

Newsday Columnist Joye Brown says it appears the prosecution is taking a different approach this time around in building its case.

"We're getting emails and witnesses who can talk about the things that Mangano got, and then when Singh comes in, he'll buttress the materials, which is an interesting strategy ," Brown said.

John Carman, who represents Linda Mangano, questioned how any jury can convict someone of making false statements without actually being able to see, hear or read the exact statements. Her interviews with federal agents were not recorded.

The trial is expected to last six weeks.

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