Singh makes potentially damaging admissions in Mangano retrial

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CENTRAL ISLIP -

The star witness in the corruption retrial of former Nassau Excutive Ed Mangano was forced to make some potentially damaging admissions Tuesday during his second day of cross-examination.

Restaurateur Harendra Singh acknowledged that for years, he was basically able to get whatever he wanted from the Town of Oyster Bay.

"They never said no to me," he said on the witness stand.

Mangano's defense attorney Kevin Keating worked to show the jury that Singh, and the various officials that controlled the Town of Oyster Bay, had a relationship that dated back more than a decade before Mangano was elected county executive.

MORE: Star witness Singh takes stand in Mangano retrial 

The self-proclaimed restaurant mogul was the longtime operator of town-owned restaurant facilities. Singh testified that he needed Mangano's help to secure a $1.5 million loan guarantee from the town. Keating pushed back on that, and Singh admitted that he always enjoyed the support of the town's top elected official, John Venditto.

"Supervisor Venditto always was very fond of me and very helpful to me," said Singh.

The defense strategy represents a departure from the first trial, when Venditto was sitting next to Mangano as a co-defendant. He was later acquitted of all charges.

The defense worked again to chip away at Singh's credibility. In one exchange, Keating showed Singh a series of documents with varying rent amounts for Mangano's campaign headquarters, which were housed in a building controlled by Singh. Singh admitted he could not tell which of those documents were real and which were fake. But he did say he knows for sure that Mangano demanded he lower the rent on the campaign headquarters.

He went on to say that Mangano once told him, "When I walk down the street, the birds chirp, 'cheap, cheap, cheap.’"

Singh has a cooperation agreement with the government and had pleaded guilty to various financial crimes. On Monday, the defense unveiled an exhibit showing Singh speaking on a cellphone outside of his Laurel Hollow mansion just this past September.

Singh admitted that using the cellphone is a violation of his bail agreement.

The trial resumes on Wednesday with Singh back on the stand, facing another day of cross-examination.

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