Longtime Suffolk DA Resigns After Federal Indictment

Oct 25, 2017

Suffolk County District Attorney Thomas Spota and one of his top aides were indicted in federal court on Wednesday for allegedly trying to cover up former Police Chief James Burke’s beating of a suspect in 2012.

The four-count indictment charges Spota and his chief of investigations, Christopher McPartland, with conspiracy, witness tampering, obstruction of justice, and accessory after the fact to deprive civil rights. According to the indictment, Spota and McPartland took part in the cover-up of Burke’s beating of Christopher Loeb, who stole a duffel bag out of Burke’s car containing his service revolver, sex toys, and pornography.

Burke pleaded guilty to federal charges related to the case, and is serving a 46-month sentence.

Spota’s attorney, Alan Vinegrad, says, “Tom categorically denies the government’s charges, and he looks forward to vindicating himself in court.”

Spota and McPartland have pleaded Not Guilty, and have been released on $500,000.

In the wake of the allegations, Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone called for Spota’s resignation, saying the man “who decides who goes to jail” can’t perform his duties while under federal indictment.

On Thursday, Spota announced he would retire "at the earliest opportunity" after completing some paperwork. His chief assistant will take over until the end of the year.

Earlier in the year, the 76-year-old Spota, a Democrat, had announced that he would retire when his term expired in January.