CENTRAL ISLIP, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) – The government’s star witness has wrapped up his explosive testimony in the corruption trial of former Nassau County Executive Ed Mangano, his wife, and a former town supervisor.
The defense says it’s feeling confident.
There’s a pause in the trial after weighty testimony by Harendra Singh, the centerpiece of the government’s case, who the defense says cannot be believed.
“Singh probably told 1,000 lies in 12 days of testimony,” said Mangano’s attorney Kevin Keating. “Singh probably told 1,000 lies in 12 days of testimony.”
At the heart of the case: The restaurant mogul’s claim his gifts to Ed Mangano and John Venditto were not out of friendship, but bribes.
“We think that actually he was genuinely close to some of these people,” said Venditto’s attorney Mark Agnifilo.
A steady stream of freebies, including a no-show job for Mangano’s wife Linda.
The defense produced 40 emails of ad and menu work over a 3-month period. Singh paid her $454,000 over four years.
“That comes out to $11,400 an email, correct?” Singh was asked.
Singh replied yes, adding “I knew she will not be working.”
And in return, he said Mangano helped him win contracts and a loan guarantee.
Singh, who admits to tax evasion, FEMA and loan fraud, was heard on a wiretap saying he would make up a story about politicians to save himself. But now, Singh says that was a lie to protect himself and those he bribed.
Among them, he claims, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio. Singh’s defense has not ruled out calling the mayor as a witness.
“My strong suspicion is that the mayor would come to court and deny these conversations with Singh, and there’s certainly some relevance to that, to have the New York City mayor say the government’s star witness is lying,” said Agnifilo.
Singh will be back in the courtroom for his sentencing. He faces possible life in prison, but the judge can offer leniency as a cooperating witness.
Singh has also agreed to pay restitution, but he told the jury has has no money. His Laurel Hollow mansion is in foreclosure.