An investigation into an alleged sexting scandal by Nassau County Executive Ed Mangano, which threatened to upend his political career, found no evidence that he sent explicit messages to women, a top-ranking Nassau police official said Thursday.
“They did not sext each other,” Det. Sgt. Patrick Ryder, commanding officer of Asset Forfeiture and Intelligence unit, told reporters during a news conference Thursday at the department’s police academy in Massapequa Park. Ryder was referring to Mangano and Karin Caro, founder of the public relations firm Blue Chip Marketing, who was the person identified as allegedly being on the receiving end of Mangano’s provocative messages.
One alleged sext, in which someone identified as “Ed M” discusses sexual acts, was forged and never sent or received by either Mangano or Caro, Ryder said. An animated Ryder said there was no proof Mangano ever sent the message, despite it being linked to his phone number. A purported Tweet from Caro’s Twitter account also appears to be a fake, investigators found.
The sexting scandal, which Mangano adamantly denied any involvement in, emerged on Feb. 13 during an explosive report by CBS News.
“I want you to (blank) my brains out even if it’s in my car again,” was one of the messages allegedly sent by Mangano, according to CBS News.
Mangano suggested to CBS News that he was a victim of a hack and told the Press on Valentine’s Day that the whole scandal is “totally fabricated.”
After Mangano became aware of the supposed sexts, he filed a verbal complaint with Nassau County police.
In response to Nassau police’s investigation, Mangano released a statement reiterating that he was victimized.
“As I stated from the moment this matter was brought to my attention, my family and I are the victims of a hoax perpetuated by a deranged individual,” Mangano said.
“I can only hope that the media will report the truth in the same manner as they reported the outrageous lies against me and the other victim,” he added. “Now, I respectfully ask that you leave my family and me alone on this matter.”
The department’s investigation commenced almost immediately, with Ryder personally overseeing the probe. During Thursday’s press conference, Ryder took the unusual step of laying out the entire investigation from start to finish, including the time and date of interviews with those involved, and documenting how the department came to the conclusion that the whole scandal was a hoax.
At one point Ryder, who took issue with suggestions that the department would cover up the scandal for Mangano’s benefit, said the investigation was done independent of the county executive’s office and the office of acting Police Commissioner Thomas Krumpter, Mangano’s pick to head the department.
“When they came to my office I was handed this bag of crap,” Ryder said. “Look around, there’s no one standing behind me. This investigation was done independently.”
“I was brought up to the tell the truth,” he added, “I am telling you the truth with the evidence in front of me. I would never embarrass my family, I would never embarrass my office…my job is to follow the evidence, I took the evidence and I followed it.
“As far as I’m concerned,” he continued, “this sexting case is closed.”
Ryder did say, however, that Mangano was never hacked. Citing the recent high-profile case between the FBI and Apple regarding the phone belonging to one of the San Bernardino, Calif. shooters, Ryder said it’s impossible for anyone to hack an iPhone without the password or Apple ID.
The investigation included analysis of both Mangano and Caro’s phones, which turned up no evidence that the pair had communicated. The police also used license plate reader technology and determined that neither Mangano nor Caro’s vehicles were ever in the same location at once, Ryder said. An examination of deleted messages—which the department has the ability to obtain and analyze—also did not reveal any relationship between Mangano and Caro.
One of the more racier messages purportedly sent by Mangano to Caro appears to be a forged document, made to look like a screenshot of an actual text exchange, investigators found. Ryder said he Googled the first nine words in the message and it took him to a website that mirrors the message. Also, an alleged Tweet from Caro’s account that suggests a vindictive motive, almost verbatim matches a quote from a news article regarding a divorce between Hollywood socialites, Ryder said.
“This is a document that could have been created by a kid or somebody that has an agenda,” Ryder said of the text. “There is no number from Mr. Mangano that ties him to the document.”
“[Caro] overwhelmingly denies ever seeing it,” Ryder added. “She denies ever having Ed Mangano’s cell phone, she denies ever personally contacting Ed Mangano through any electronic communication.” However, Caro has done business with the county before and received two contracts from Nassau in 2013 and 2014 to promote events.
Ryder said both Mangano and Caro cooperated with the investigation and gave detectives permission to personally sift through their devices.
Ryder noted that he personally interviewed Mangano and threatened to arrest the county executive himself if evidence later turned up revealing he was lying.
Mangano’s response: “I was not involved with that woman.”
The alleged sexting scandal included messages sent to other women, but Caro was the only one publicly identified.