Ex-DA Thomas Spota, aide sentenced to prison for cover-up

Thomas Spota was once the highest-ranking prosecutor in Suffolk County. But on Tuesday, the former district attorney and his former chief of investigations, Christopher McPartland, were both served with what a judge deemed a "substantial" five-year sentence in federal prison.

"The verdict in today's sentences demonstrates that no one is above the law," Chief Assistant U.S. Attorney Nicole Boeckmann for the Eastern District of New York said outside the courthouse.

Spota walked out of court with his attorney without commenting. He was found guilty back in 2019 on counts including obstruction of justice. The former district attorney helped cover up then-Suffolk County Police Chief James Burke's beating of an incarcerated, shackled prisoner suspected of stealing personal items — including sex toys and pornography — from his county vehicle back in 2012. 

Spota, 79, has until Dec. 10 to voluntarily surrender to begin serving his sentence.

McPartland, 55, who also didn't comment, must surrender by Nov. 10.

The government argued the men went against their oath by masterminding a three-year cover-up to protect Burke. Prosecutors noted that Spota and McPartland failed to take responsibility for their actions.

Christopher Loeb, the man at the center of the prosecution who stole Burke's duffel bag, described a sense of relief about the verdict.

"You've got to be held accountable for what you did," Loeb said.

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Suffolk County officials who have followed the trial throughout say it's a step in the right direction.

Inside the courtroom, the judge indicated many times that Spota and McPartland's sentences would be longer than Burke's, who served 46 months, because of their "unconscionable behavior." 

Both attorneys indicated that their clients plan to appeal.