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Suffolk DA Thomas Spota, aide indicted on federal charges in alleged cover-up of police assault

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Suffolk District Attorney Thomas Spota and the chief of investigations have been indicted on federal charges in an alleged cover-up of former Police Chief James Burke’s assault of an arrestee accused of burgalizing Burke’s car in 2012, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office Eastern District of New York.

A four-count indictment was returned Wednesday announcing charges against Spota and Christopher McPartland, the chief of investigations and chief of the government corruption bureau of the Suffolk County District Attorney’s Office.

Suffolk District Attorney Thomas Spota

The charges are:  conspiracy to tamper with witnesses and obstruct an official proceeding; witness tampering and obstruction of an official proceeding; obstruction of justice; and accessory after the fact to the deprivation of civil rights.

Both are scheduled to be arraigned Wednesday afternoon.

The charges stem from a case in which Burke assaulted a man suspected of burglarizing the former police chief’s department-issued vehicle.

On the night of Dec. 14, 2012, after police determined that Chris Loeb had allegedly stolen a duffel bag from the former chief’s unmarked SUV that contained sex toys, porn and the chief’s gun belt, ammunition and handcuffs, Burke showed up at Loeb’s home in a severe violation of police policy.

Former Suffolk County police chief James Burke stands handcuffed between two FBI agents on Dec. 9, 2015. (Photo: Jim Staubitser)

Prosecutors said Burke beat Loeb in his home and removed a key piece of evidence: the duffel bag. He then took Loeb to a nearby police precinct, where the former chief again beat Loeb, this time while the prisoner was chained the floor.

In court, prosecutors argued that Burke coordinated with at least 10 other officers to corroborate their stories and maintain that nothing illegal had occurred.

Burke is serving a nearly four-year prison sentence in the case.

PIX11 News’ James Ford contributed to this case.