CENTRAL ISLIP, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio was mentioned again Tuesday at Ed Mangano’s corruption trial.
The former Nassau County executive is accused of bribing a restaurant owner, who says he also bought influence from de Blasio, CBS2’s Carolyn Gusoff reported.
The defense is trying to convince the jury there’s a difference between friendship and bribery. Former restaurant mogul Herendra Singh was asked on the witness stand if his conversations with Mayor de Blasio about violating campaign finance laws were “unambiguous” and “left no doubt” they were bribes.
“At one point did you say to him these transactions are not kosher?” Singh was asked.
“Twice,” he answered.
But Singh’s relationship with Mangano? The defense has maintained it was just a dear friendship.
Mangano’s wife, Linda, wiped away tears as Singh testified about milestones the families celebrated together. The defense offered up an innocent explanation for every gift Singh gave the Manganos, but Singh wasn’t budging.
The $3,600 massage chair? It was a gift coinciding with a birthday fundraiser.
“The Manganos didn’t want gifts from you, did they?” the defense asked.
“They never openly asked, but they would always indicate,” Singh answered.
As for the $7,300 watch for Mangano’s son and a $3,000 office chair, they were gifts from a wealthy best friend, the defense claimed, and it offered the text messages from Linda Mangano accompanying an invite as proof.
“Hi my pal. Nothing please, just your friendship. No gifts. I will not let you in the door with a gift. xoxo,” she wrote.
Singh responded to the jury by saying, “By that time, she was on my payroll for a no-show job. What she was saying was I had done enough.”
Singh stood his ground. He told the jury it was a friendship, but also a business relationship and because of what he was giving Mangano was obliged to do whatever he needed. A quid pro quo is what the government must prove to convict.