The former chief deputy Nassau County executive has been indicted on charges of allegedly lying to investigators and obstructing justice, federal authorities said Thursday.
Richard “Rob” Walker pleaded not guilty at Central Islip federal court to charges of obstruction of justice and making false statements to the FBI.
“Walker, while serving as a public official, accepted money from a contractor who was performing work for Nassau County,” said William F. Sweeney, Jr., Assistant Director-in-Charge, of the FBI’s New York office. “When he found out the FBI was hot on his trail, he tried to cover up his corrupt behavior, even going so far as to attempt to convince the
contractor to lie to a grand jury.”
After the 43-year-old former New York State Assemblyman from Hicksville allegedly took $5,000 from a county contractor in 2014 and told the contractor to lie to the grand jury about it, Walker met the contractor in a park and gave the $5,000 back, according to investigators. He later denied ever having received the money, authorities said.
Walker served as the top deputy to ex-Nassau County Executive Ed Mangano, a Republican who pleaded not guilty to a kickback scheme in which his indicted restaurateur friend allegedly gave Mangano’s wife a no-show job in exchange for county contracts.
Mangano, his wife, Linda, and ex-Oyster Bay Town Supervisor John Venditto, who also pleaded not guilty to a separate scheme, are all expected to go to trial next month.
While testifying against ex-State Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos (R-Rockville Centre) in a 2016 corruption trial in Manhattan federal court, Walker admitted that he was under investigation for awarding contracts to campaign contributors.
“I am ready to answer any questions that they may have,” he said at the time.
Walker left his county job when Mangano’s final term ended Dec. 31 after the ex-exec declined to seek a third term.
Judge Anne Shields ordered that he surrender his passport, not leave the state and released Walker on $200,000 bail.
Brian Griffin, Walker’s attorney, told reporters outside the courthouse: “This allegation, even as accepted at face value from what the government is saying, is not illegal conduct.”
–By Timothy Bolger and Christa Ganz