Hearing focuses on alleged ‘nasty porn’ in police chief’s stolen bag

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RIVERHEAD, Long Island (PIX11) – It may have been a hearing to determine what evidence could be included in a future trial, but pornography was at the heart of testimony in a Suffolk County courtroom Thursday.  Specifically at issue was whether or not there was porn in a duffel bag that belonged to the chief of one of the country’s largest police departments, and whether or not the porn, if it existed, was illegal.

It was all discussed in testimony from larceny suspect Christopher Loeb, 27, while he was being questioned by a special prosecutor in the case for which Loeb is being held under $500,000 bail.  The Smithtown resident stole items from a half dozen cars last December in the village of St. James, including from the unlocked, unmarked police SUV of Suffolk County Police Chief James Burke.

Loeb had kept silence in the case until Wednesday, when he first took the stand in his pretrial hearing and said, on the record, that officers chained him to a floor in an interrogation room at the Fourth Precinct and beat him repeatedly after his arrest.

Loeb also said that Chief Burke removed the officers from the interrogation room, and punched Loeb in the head, while the two were alone.

When that happened, Loeb said on the record Thursday, “I called [Chief Burke] a name in regard to the nasty porn.”

Suffolk Top Cop

Chief Burke (left) is accused of beating and torturing a Long Island man after he allegedly stole a bag from Burke’s car.

The subject of “nasty” porn kept being brought up at the court hearing that had been convened to determine if Loeb’s confession to breaking into the chief’s SUV and other cars was coerced.

But porn was the centerpiece of testimony.  At one point, both Loeb and the prosecutor raised their voices in the courtroom.

“There was nasty porn in his bag!” Loeb shouted about the chief’s duffel.

“That you don’t want to explain?” the prosecutor shouted back.

“No I don’t!” said Loeb.

When the prosecutor asked Loeb, “Who’s stopping you from saying that?” Loeb replied, “The federal prosecutors.”

The FBI and U.S. attorney are investigating Chief James Burke in a separate situation, to see if he actually beat up Loeb and therefore violated Loeb’s civil rights.  But again, at court, porn, possibly owned by the chief, was on the hot seat.

The prosecutor said, “Your ability to determine it was nasty porn was based on the cover?”

“Yes,” said Loeb, “There were several covers on the DVDs.”  He testified that he’d found five porn DVDs in a side pocket of the chief’s duffel bag, and that four of them had covers on their boxes depicting “nasty porn” sex acts.

“The issue of porn is a fantasy of the defendant that goes along with his other stories that he’s been beaten and whatnot,” said Joseph Conway, Chief Burke’s attorney, after the pretrial hearing ended Thursday afternoon.

“The fact that Christopher Loeb didn’t want to speak about it,” said Conway, “and couldn’t specify it just leads to the fact that there was nothing in there and he’s making this story up.”

Conway also said that the chief had been available Wednesday and Thursday to come to court to tell his side of the story, but Chief Burke had not been called to the stand.  Still, questions about what Burke may or may not have had in his duffel bag linger.

“There’s more, a lot more to the picture,” said Wally Zeins, a retired NYPD detective sergeant and internal affairs investigator who is also a PIX11 consultant.  Zeins has been closely following the Burke / Loeb case.

“If [Loeb] is saying nasty porn, he’s saying something over and above standard pornography,” said Zeins.

Through his attorney, Chief James Burke denied any wrongdoing.

On December 3rd, the judge, Martin Efman, is scheduled to hold a hearing to determine what testimony and evidence will be permitted into Christopher Loeb’s larceny trial.