Star witness Singh takes stand in Mangano retrial

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CENTRAL ISLIP -

The federal government's star witness took the stand Thursday in the corruption retrial of former Nassau County Executive Ed Mangano.

It was Harendra Singh's first time testifying in the retrial of Mangano and his wife, Linda.

Singh's testimony went at a breakneck pace, covering much of the same material as he did last time. That includes testimony that he bought an expensive massage chair for Ed Mangano and a pricey watch for one of the Manganos' sons, as well as provided a high-paying, no-show job for Linda Mangano.

Singh, a restaurateur, testified the gifts were in exchange for loan guarantees and lucrative county contracts, including one to provide bread and rolls to the county jail.

Newsday reporter Nicole Fuller covered the first corruption trial and is back for the second. She says the prosecution is moving more quickly this time around, plowing through testimony with Singh. In the first trial, Singh was on the stand for 13 days. Fuller says that likely won't be the case this time.

When prosecutors asked Singh if he’d still buy Ed Mangano the massage chair if he wasn't county executive, Singh said no: "You don't buy a $3,600 massage chair if you're not getting something in return...so it was the correct thing to do, to comply with the request."

Singh is awaiting sentencing after pleading guilty to what he said was his role in the kickback and bribery scheme.

Related stories:
'No bid' contract at question in Mangano corruption retrial
2nd juror replaced in Mangano corruption retrial
Opening statements delivered in Mangano corruption retrial

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