Ex-Suffolk County District Attorney Thomas Spota and his former top deputy were each sentenced Tuesday to five years in federal prison after being convicted of helping cover up a police beating.
Spota was also fined $100,000 in the sentencing given by Judge Joan M. Azrack at Central Islip federal court. Spota and former public corruption bureau chief Christopher McPartland were convicted in December 2019 of conspiring to cover up police brutality following a month-long trial.
“The actions of these defendants represent the worst of law enforcement,” Spota’s successor, Suffolk County District Attorney Timothy Sini, said in response to the sentencing. “Their conduct has devastated many people individually, deprived Suffolk residents of what they deserve from public officials and was a disservice to all the honest, hardworking men and women of law enforcement.”
A federal jury found the two men guilty of obstruction of justice, conspiracy to tamper with witnesses and obstruct an official proceeding, witness tampering and obstruction of an official proceeding and accessory after the fact to the deprivation of civil rights, after they attempted to cover up the assault of a handcuffed prisoner, Christopher Loeb, by then-chief of the Suffolk County Police Department, James Burke.
Federal prosecutors said Spota, McPartland, and Burke conspired to conceal Burke’s role in beating a suspect that stole a bag of sex toys, pornography, and ammunition from the chief’s SUV in 2012. Authorities also said the three talked about using their power to cover up the chief’s attempted cover up of the beating that Burke ultimately pleaded guilty to in 2016. Burke has since been sentenced and released from prison.
In addition, investigators said they used intimidation, threats, and corrupt persuasion to pressure multiple witnesses, including co-conspirators, not to cooperate with the federal investigation, to provide false information, including false testimony under oath, and to withhold relevant information from investigators.
First Assistant U.S. Attorney Nicole Boeckmann and FBI Acting Assistant Director-in-Charge Jacqueline Maguire prosecuted the case.