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Christopher Loeb’s attorney wants conviction in James Burke case overturned

Christopher Loeb, left, who was allegedly assaulted by

Christopher Loeb, left, who was allegedly assaulted by former Suffolk County Police Chief James Burke, and Kyle Howell, who was allegedly assaulted by Nassau County Police Officer Vincent LoGiudice, speak about their experiences on Monday, Dec. 14, 2015, in Uniondale. Credit: Howard Schnapp

The attorney for the Smithtown man who said he was beaten by former Suffolk police chief James Burke while detained in the Fourth Precinct station house said she’s going to request that his conviction be vacated because she said police lied during testimony.

At the same time, attorney Amy Marion of Garden City also called for a federal investigation into another of her cases, that of Kyle Howell.

Marion represents both Christopher Loeb, 29, of Smithtown, who claims he was beaten by Burke, and Howell, 22, of Westbury, whose beating by police was recorded on videotape. She has filed civil lawsuits for both men.

At a news conference in Uniondale early Monday called by Marion and attended by both Loeb and Howell, the attorney said she wants the U.S. attorney’s office to investigate Howell’s case, in which the officer accused of beating him was acquitted last week of all charges.

Howell echoed his lawyer’s request. “I hope federal prosecutors will investigate my case just like they investigated Chris.”

“The judges in both cases took the word of the perpetrators over the word of the victims,” Marion said. “This past Friday our firm was monitoring both these cases. Literally within minutes, each took a dramatically different turn.”

She said Loeb’s 2013 conviction on charges of criminal possession of a weapon and violation of probation should be vacated because she contends some police officers who testified in his case may have since changed their stories to federal authorities.

Loeb was accused of taking a duffel bag from Burke’s department-issued vehicle. Officers testified in 2013 the bag contained a box of cigars and a gun belt carrying ammunition, handcuffs and a whistle. Loeb testified the bag also contained sex toys and a DVD of what he described during the 2013 hearing as “nasty porno.” State Supreme Court Judge Martin Efman ruled then the officers’ testimony was “credible.” And that is what Marion is relying on to overturn Loeb’s conviction.

This comes as federal investigators relaunched a probe into Burke. He was arrested last week at his home on civil rights violations and obstruction charges. He is being held without bail.

In Howell’s case, an April 2014 traffic stop led to a struggle with officers Vincent LoGiudice and Basil Gomez. He claims LoGiudice beat him without justification. LoGiudice, 35, was acquitted on Friday of assault charges.

“Mr. Howell’s testimony at trial proved all force was justified,” said William Petrillo, who represents LoGuidice. He said Howell admitted during cross examination that he knew that what he was doing would cause officers to “think he had a weapon that could kill” and he ignored commands to stop. “He admitted all of it. It was on the record.”

“This same testimony will cause his civil case to fail for the same reason,” Petrillo added.

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