Judge declares mistrial in former New York local official's bribery case

FILE PHOTO - Edward Mangano, Nassau County Executive, and his wife Linda, both facing federal corruption charges, leave arraignment hearings outside federal court in Central Islip, New York, U.S., October 20, 2016. REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton
By Brendan Pierson

By Brendan Pierson

NEW YORK (Reuters) - A judge on Thursday declared a mistrial in the case of a former New York town official accused of taking bribes, after a jury failed to reach a verdict following nine days of deliberations, according to a spokesman for prosecutors.

Former Nassau County Executive Edward Mangano had been on trial in federal court in Central Islip, New York, accused of taking bribes from a restaurateur. The jury also failed to reach a verdict on charges against his wife, Linda Mangano.

After declaring the mistrial, U.S. District Judge Joan Azrack set a hearing for June 28 to schedule a new trial, according to the prosecutors' spokesman, John Marzulli.

"Linda Mangano deserved an acquittal and the excused jurors indicated she just missed getting one," Linda Mangano's lawyer, John Carman, said in an email.

A lawyer for Edward Mangano could not immediately be reached.

The jury had previously cleared of all charges another man charged in the case, former Oyster Bay Town Supervisor John Venditto.

Prosecutors charged Mangano and Venditto with accepting bribes and kickbacks from Oyster Bay restaurateur Harendra Singh in exchange for favorable treatment, including government contracts and loans. They said the bribes included a no-show job for Linda Mangano.

Singh was separately charged in 2015, pleaded guilty and testified at the trial. He was a major fundraiser for New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, who was also investigated for possible corruption by state and federal authorities but ultimately not charged. De Blasio has denied wrongdoing.

Mangano, a Republican, was the top elected official in Nassau County, one of the wealthiest counties in the United States, situated just east of New York City on Long Island. His term ended last year, and he did not seek reelection.

The county's finances have been in disarray for years and are subject to a state-operated oversight board.

Venditto, also a Republican, resigned last year from his role as town supervisor of Oyster Bay, a town of close to 300,000 located in the eastern part of the county. Oyster Bay has been charged by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission with defrauding its bond holders in connection with the criminal corruption case.

(Reporting by Brendan Pierson in New York, Editing by Rosalba O'Brien)