NEW YORK (Reuters) - A former town official in New York’s Nassau County was found not guilty on Thursday of taking bribes from a restaurateur, as jurors continued to weigh the fate of the county’s former top elected executive charged in the same case.
Former Oyster Bay Town Supervisor John Venditto was acquitted following a trial in federal court in Central Islip, New York, according to John Marzulli, a spokesman for federal prosecutors. Marzulli declined to comment on the verdict.
“We are over the moon with Mr. Venditto being acquitted,” said Marc Agnifilo, Venditto’s lawyer. “It’s a great day for him and our jury system.”
The jury said on Wednesday afternoon that it had not yet reached a decision regarding former Nassau County Executive Edward Mangano or his wife, Linda Mangano, who were on trial alongside Venditto.
John Carman, a lawyer for Linda Mangano, said of Thursday’s acquittal that Venditto’s lawyers had “brilliantly exposed the government’s flawed theory of guilt.”
A lawyer for Edward Mangano could not immediately be reached.
Prosecutors charged Mangano and Venditto with accepting bribes and kickbacks from Oyster Bay restaurateur Harendra Singh in exchange for favorable treatment, including government contracts and loans. They said the bribes included a no-show job for Linda Mangano.
Singh was charged separately in 2015, pleaded guilty and testified at the trial. He was a major fundraiser for New York City Mayor Bill De Blasio, who was also investigated for possible corruption by state and federal authorities but ultimately not charged.
Reporting by Brendan Pierson in New York; Editing by Dan Grebler and Tom Brown