CENTRAL ISLIP, N.Y. (AP) — A former Long Island prosecutor convicted of obstructing justice after a prisoner was beaten has begun serving a five-year federal prison sentence.
Former Suffolk County District Attorney Thomas Spota and a former top aide, Christopher McPartland, surrendered at separate federal prisons Friday, prison officials told Newsday.
Spota and McPartland were convicted in December 2019 on counts of conspiracy, obstruction of justice, witness tampering and civil rights violations.
They were accused of helping cover up the 2012 police beating of a prisoner suspected of stealing sex toys and other items from a police chief’s vehicle.
The resulting scandal eventually engulfed the county’s law enforcement power structure.
“I hope not to die in prison alone.” – Former Suffolk County D.A. Thomas Spota
Spota, 80, is now an inmate at the Federal Correctional Institution in Danbury, Connecticut.
McPartland, who also is serving a five-year sentence, is incarcerated at Beaumont Federal Correctional Complex in Texas, according to the newspaper.
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit last month denied the defendants’ requests to remain free on bail while they appeal their convictions.
By Nicole Hong, Published Nov. 14, 2019 |
Updated Dec. 17, 2019 – A federal jury on Long Island has found Thomas J. Spota guilty of four counts, including obstruction of justice and witness tampering.
THE NEW YORK TIMES – It started with a duffel bag containing sex toys, cigars and a pornographic film.
The bag belonged to James Burke, the police chief in Suffolk County, and was stolen from his parked car in December 2012. When the police later arrested a heroin user with the bag, Mr. Burke walked into the station house to confront the man, who was handcuffed to the floor of an interrogation room.
For a few minutes, prosecutors said, Mr. Burke assaulted the suspect, screaming and threatening to kill him until a detective in the room finally said, “Boss, that’s enough.”
The assault prompted a federal criminal investigation that lasted more than four years and eventually led to the resignation not only of the police chief but also of the longtime Suffolk County district attorney, Thomas J. Spota, who was accused of trying to cover it up.
This week, Mr. Spota goes on trial along with one of his top deputies, Christopher McPartland, in a case that could expose the inner workings of a law enforcement culture on Long Island plagued by longstanding accusations of corruption … read more [subscription may be required]