Day After Indictment, Spota Says He Plans To Retire

MINEOLA, N.Y. (CBSNewYork/AP) — Suffolk County District Attorney Thomas Spota, who was indicted on charges that he allegedly helped cover up the beating of a handcuffed prisoner by a police chief, says he will retire.

Spota made the announcement Thursday and said he has notified Gov. Andrew Cuomo of his decision.

“I will be leaving my post as District Attorney at the earliest opportunity after the resolution of normal administrative matters relating to my retirement,” he said in a statement. “The Chief Assistant District Attorney, Emily Constant, will thereafter assume my duties and responsibilities.”

Spota and the chief of his anti-corruption bureau, Christopher McPartland, are accused of obstructing an FBI investigation that led to the conviction of former county Police Chief James Burke.

Defense attorney Alan Vinegrad said Spota “committed no crime” and “categorically denies the government’s charges.”

Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone believes Spota should leave the office immediately, not after he fills out the retirement paperwork.

“This is representative of a pattern of abuse and a culture of corruption that has existed under the leadership of Tom Spota for years now,” Bellone said.

Charges against Spota and McPartland include witness tampering and obstruction of justice. Both pleaded not guilty at their arraignment Wednesday in federal court on Long Island.

Burke is currently serving a prison sentence of three years and 10 months after pleading guilty to assaulting a handcuffed man who had broken into his sport-utility vehicle and taken his gun belt, ammunition, a box of cigars and a bag containing sex toys and pornography.

Prosecutors said Burke then lied and asked others to lie on his behalf to cover up the beating.

(© Copyright 2017 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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