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A crooked restaurateur who claims to have bribed Mayor de Blasio boosted his own ego by showering Hizzoner with campaign cash, a defense lawyer told jurors at a Long Island corruption trial on Wednesday.
During closing arguments, lawyer Marc Agnifilo said star prosecution witness Harendra Singh — who also claims to have bribed former Nassau County Executive Ed Mangano — “is like a politician buff. That’s how he builds his sense of importance.”
“I have no idea if Mayor Bill de Blasio is guilty of anything, but when you think [that] you have the top guy in your pocket because you’re bribing him, you have muscle, you have power, you have strength,” Agnifilo told jurors in Central Islip federal court.
Singh pleaded guilty to bribing de Blasio with political contributions in exchange for official favors involving his since-shuttered Water’s Edge restaurant in Queens.
Singh also testified that de Blasio encouraged him to make illegal “straw donations” to de Blasio and his political pals.
The mayor, who wasn’t charged over the allegations, has adamantly denied Singh’s claims.
Asked for comment on the latest mention of de Blasio’s name at the trial, mayoral spokesman Eric Phillips said: “We aren’t paying attention to it and have no reaction.”
Closing arguments in the case against Mangano, wife Linda Mangano and former Oyster Bay Town Supervisor John Venditto were scheduled to continue on Thursday.
Additional reporting by Rich Calder
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