The retrial of former Nassau County Executive Edward Mangano and his wife, Linda, began Tuesday in a federal courtroom in Central Islip.
Edward Mangano once again faces charges of extortion, conspiracy to commit federal program bribery, honest services wire fraud and conspiracy to obstruct justice, totaling seven counts. Linda Mangano is facing five counts of obstruction of justice and false statements.
The opening statements of the prosecution and defense painted two different pictures of the relationship between Mangano and restaurateur turned government witness Harendra Singh, according to Newsday.
“This is a case about corruption and greed at the highest level of county government,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Lara Treinis Gatz told jurors, according to Newsday.
Federal prosecutors said that Mangano capitalized on his relationship with Singh to enrich himself at taxpayers’ expense, according to Newsday.
The defense argued that Singh actually lost money in providing gifts to Mangano, and is now cooperating with the government for leniency on the eight federal charges he pleaded guilty to in October 2016, according to Newsday.
“In the words of Harendra Singh, he [Edward Mangano] cost me money,” Mangano’s attorney Kevin Keating said, according to Newsday.
Singh’s sentencing has been postponed on several occasions, according to court filings.
On the same day as the opening statements, U.S. District Court Judge Joan Azrack granted an email request by the prosecution that prohibits all parties and counsel from making statements to the media outside of information available in public records, according to court filings.
The court granted the motion because of the publicity surrounding the first trial and the retrial, according to the document. In jury selection, potential jurors were asked to adhere to strict guidelines for exposure to outside information related to the case, another reason for the gag order, according to the document.
Last week, a request by the Manganos’ attorneys to have federal corruption charges against the couple dropped was dismissed by Azrack.
Court documents filed last Thursday detail Azrack’s grounds for rejecting several arguments and motions prior to the corruption retrial.
Most prominent of the five-page filing from the court is Azrack’s denial of a request for dismissal of the case against the Manganos, with a written decision on that motion forthcoming.
According to Edward Mangano’s attorney Kevin Keating, the prosecution knowingly withheld evidence that favored Mangano and his wife and allowed Singh to falsely testify.
Efforts to reach Keating were unavailing.
Prosecutors denied all of the defense’s accusations earlier this month, writing that “Mangano’s arguments are meritless once the hyperbole and accusations are stripped away.”
The Manganos’ first trial, which lasted 12 weeks, ended in a mistrial.