John Venditto

Sophia Hall/WCBS 880

Mangano Co-Defendant, Former Oyster Bay Town Supervisor John Venditto, Acquitted At Trial

May 24, 2018 - 10:59 am

CENTRAL ISLIP, N.Y. (WCBS 880) -- Former Oyster Bay Town Supervisor John Venditto was found not guilty on all counts Thursday following a corruption trial.

Venditto was charged along with former Nassau County Executive Ed Mangano and his wife, Linda. No verdict has been reached for Ed or Linda Mangano, and the jury resumed deliberation after announcing verdict for Venditto.

After the verdict was read, Venditto smiled and talked to his attorneys, WCBS 880’s Sophia Hall reported.

“What was going through my mind is that the jury got to the truth,” Venditto said when asked about his thoughts when the verdict was read.

Venditto also expressed concerns about the criminal justice system.

“I’ll tell you what I did learn,” he said. “When I see the power that the government has over a defendant, it made me wonder about how many people – how many men and women are in jail today – because maybe they couldn’t get a lawyer to represent them of the caliber that I got.”

The jury earlier sent a note to the judge on Thursday, the fifth day of deliberations, saying they had come to a unanimous decision on one defendant and are split on the other two. Jurors will return to court on Friday to deliberate on the cases against the Manganos.

Jurors have sent a number of notes this week to the judge.

On Wednesday, they wanted to see the testimony of the prosecution's star witness -- restaurant owner Harendra Singh

Venditto was accused of helping Singh get $20 million in guaranteed loans and town contacts in exchange for free limousine rides and dinners.

Singh also testified that he gave Mangano a number of pricey gifts, including a $100,000-a-year no-show job for Mangano's wife, in exchange for county contracts and $20 million in guaranteed loans. 

Defense attorneys compared Singh to Pinocchio and said he lied on the stand to get a deal with the prosecutors. They claim the real reason Singh gave Mangano anything was because the two were great friends.

A 13-count indictment charged the defendants with extortion, bribery, fraud, and obstruction.

Venditto is not completely in the clear yet. He is still facing criminal charges filed by Nassau County prosecutors in another case.

He has pleaded not guilty in that case.

Ed Mangano faces decades behind bars if convicted.

If the jury does not come to a decision on the Manganos this week, deliberations would resume on Tuesday because of the Memorial Day holiday.