As CBS2’s Carolyn Gusoff reports, there’s now a call for change in the law to make gift-giving to politicians a crime.
It was an emotional moment between the Manganos and the jury foreman Thursday, whose note it was that ended their 12-week trial. A mistrial was declared after the foreman told the judge, “I can no longer carry out my duties as a juror.”
“People weren’t willing to compromise, or go through certain things of evidence, or understand what other jurors were saying,” the man, named Marc, told Gusoff. “It was just tough, a tough atmosphere.”
Web Extra: Mangano Juror On Mistrial
His vote was not guilty — he believed the gifts between longtime friends were not bribes. He blamed the deadlock on the sheer length of the case.
“We had over thousands and thousands of pages of emails, all that evidence. We had to make sure we sifted through it,” said Marc. “That took a toll on all of us.”
Other exhausted jurors say they were evenly split and equally passionate.
“Nothing more than I would want if it were people deciding my fate,” one woman said.
Web Extra: Ed Mangano Reacts To Mistrial
State Sen. Todd Kaminsky, a former federal prosecutor, said the mistrial underscores the need for new corruption laws. He wants to make it a felony for politicians to receive lavish gifts.
“I think Long Islanders are shocked. They saw the evidence about things that stunk to high heavens to them,” he said.
In the Mangano case, the government had to prove a direct connection between the gifts and the couple’s official acts.
“I think we are living in a world now where what is corrupt is not necessarily illegal,” Kaminsky said. “We got to change that.”
The government vowed to retry the case, but the public is split on whether it’s worth it.
“If they didn’t get it right this time around, maybe they should give it second shot,” said one man.
“I think they are better off not retrying it. I don’t think they can get a conviction in that case,” another said.
“I think taxpayers should be appreciative of the fact that the U.S. attorney’s office is trying to make sure that our local government is run without corruption,” said criminal defense attorney Bruce Barket.
“I would hope that they look at the thoroughness that has already occurred and expense that’s already went into such a trial – enormous expense,” Ed Mangano said.
Mangano has not yet expressed regret about accepting gifts from a friend doing business in the county. The bill to make that a crime has been stuck in the State Senate committee for two years.