CENTRAL ISLIP, N.Y. (AP) — A former top official for a Long Island town accused of taking bribes from a restaurant owner was acquitted on Thursday of all corruption charges, as a federal jury continued to deliberate on charges facing his two co-defendants, another Long Island politician and his wife.
On its fifth day of deliberations, the jury in Central Islip found John Venditto not guilty of charges including bribery and wire fraud. Venditto had been the Oyster Bay Town supervisor for two decades until his resignation in January 2017.
Deliberations were continuing on criminal charges facing former Nassau County Executive Edward Mangano and his wife, Linda Mangano.
The indictment against Venditto and Mangano charged them with helping businessman Harendra Singh get guaranteed loans in exchange for bribes. Prosecutors said Linda Mangano had a $100,000-a-year, no-show job.
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All three had pleaded not guilty to extortion, bribery and other charges.
Prosecutors said Venditto took $11,400 in limousine services for family and friends from Singh.
Venditto told Newsday as he left the courtroom, “From the very first day I started in law school, I have had nothing but faith in our justice system and the events of today confirm that faith.”
As part of his own criminal case, Singh pleaded guilty to paying bribes to New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio in the form of campaign contributions, in an attempt to resolve a dispute with the city over a restaurant lease there.
The Democratic mayor was not prosecuted. He has denied taking any bribes and suggested Singh pleaded guilty only because he was desperate to get leniency for other corrupt acts.