Former Suffolk DA Thomas Spota sentenced in police beating cover-up

Long Island
Thomas Spota

FILE – In this Oct. 25, 2017, file photo Suffolk County District Attorney Thomas Spota leaves the courthouse in Central Islip, N.Y. The former prosecutor was convicted Tuesday, Dec. 17, 2019, on charges he helped cover for a former protege who, as police chief, punched a handcuffed man suspected of stealing embarrassing items from his police department SUV, including sex toys and pornography. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig, File)

CENTRAL ISLIP, L.I. — A powerful former Long Island prosecutor and one of his top aides were sentenced Tuesday after being convicted of helping cover up an ex-police chief’s beating of a handcuffed arrestee in 2012.

Former Suffolk County District Attorney Thomas Spota was sentenced by a judge to five years in prison.

His former aide, Christopher McPartland, also was sentenced to five years.

Both men were convicted in December 2019 on federal charges of conspiracy, obstruction of justice, witness tampering and civil rights violations.

Prosecutors, who sought eight-year sentences, had said Spota helped to cover for James Burke, the former chief of the Suffolk County Police Department.

When Burke was chief, in December 2012, he tortuously beat up a shackled and handcuffed Christopher Loeb in a police station interrogation room. Loeb had stolen a duffel bag from Burke’s police SUV that contained his gun belt, ammunition, a box of cigars, and a bag containing sex toys, porn and Viagra pills.

Spota and McPartland were accused of conspiring with the ex-chief and a top deputy in the DA’s office to pressure witnesses to not cooperate with an FBI investigation into the 2012 assault.

Burke has since pleaded guilty and received a 46-month sentence.

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