Ex-Oyster Bay Town Supervisor John Venditto was acquitted of federal corruption charges, although the jury has yet to reach a verdict on his two co-defendants, former Nassau County Executive Ed Mangano and his wife, Linda.
A federal jury found Venditto not guilty Thursday of honest services fraud, federal program bribery and other charges following an 11-week-long trial at Central Islip federal court. The jury has been deliberating for a week.
Prosecutors had alleged the Republican conspired between 2010 and 2015 to use their power to back loans for and award contracts to a businessman, who in turn gave them kickbacks and a $450,000 no-show job for the county executive’s wife.
The defense had argued that the business man and key witness in the case, Harendra Singh, a former restaurateur who authorities alleged had gotten favors in exchange for kickbacks, could not be trusted because he struck a plea deal. Singh is Mangano’s former close friend. The Town of Oyster Bay had backed $20 million in loans for Singh, which has drawn the attention of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.
Three months after his arrest, Venditto resigned in January 2017 so he could focus on his defense. He was later replaced by Oyster Bay Town Supervisor Joe Saladino. Mangano, a fellow Republican, continued to serve out his last term and was replaced in January by Democratic Nassau County Executive Laura Curran.
Venditto is still facing criminal charges filed by Nassau County prosecutors in a separate case. He has pleaded not guilty in that case.