Suffolk County DA Spota indicted in police brutality cover-up

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Suffolk County District Attorney Thomas Spota (AP file)

A federal grand jury has indicted Suffolk County District Attorney Thomas Spota on charges that he obstructed an FBI investigation into the county's police chief.

The chief of the DA's Government Corruption Bureau, Christopher McPartland, was also indicted.

Spota and McPartland pleaded not guilty before a judge in federal court on Wednesday. The judge released them on $500,000 bond.

Spota's attorney, Alan Vinegrad, said his client didn't commit a crime and has a long record of prosecuting crime in the county.

"Tom categorically denies the government's charges," Vinegrad said. "He looks forward to vindicating himself in court."

The charges are related to the federal probe of then-Chief James Burke of the Suffolk County PD, who was convicted of beating a handcuffed prisoner who has stolen things from his SUV.

Burke, 52, and Spota, 76, have known each other for decades – even since Burke, in his teens, was a witness to a murder. Spota supported his law-enforcement career and backed him for police chief in 2011.

Spota, a Democrat, became DA in 2001. He is not seeking reelection.

He and McPartland are due back in court in December.