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Former aide for ex-Suffolk DA Thomas Spota wants judge to delay his prison surrender

Christoper McPartland arrives in federal court in Central

Christoper McPartland arrives in federal court in Central Islip in June. Credit: James Carbone

A disbarred ex-Suffolk prosecutor wants a judge to delay his prison surrender date by a month while awaiting her ruling on whether he and former Suffolk District Attorney Thomas Spota can stay free on bail as they appeal their corruption convictions.

An attorney for Christopher McPartland also said in a letter Tuesday to U.S. District Judge Joan Azrack that the defense has expressed opposition to a Bureau of Prisons decision to send McPartland to a Federal Correctional Institution in Texas that is a "non-camp facility" instead of a "camp facility" on the East Coast.

Manhattan lawyer Larry Krantz added that the defense was "working diligently" with federal prison authorities to try to change McPartland's custody assignment.

The attorney told the judge that the Bureau of Prisons initially had decided McPartland would be sent to an East Coast prison camp after he said she recommended McPartland's incarceration at such a facility in Lewisburg, Pennsylvania. But Krantz said then the federal agency made a change.

"This change would present a great hardship to Mr. McPartland, not only in terms of the conditions of his confinement, but also as to the ability of his wife, children and mother to visit him," Krantz said in the court filing.

Federal prison "camps" have a minimum level of security, with dormitory housing and limited or no perimeter fencing, according to the Bureau of Prisons' website. It describes Federal Correctional Institutions as low-security facilities with double-fenced perimeters and mostly dormitory or cubicle housing.

In August, Azrack sentenced both Spota, 80, of Mount Sinai, and McPartland, 55, of Northport, to 5 years in prison. She ordered McPartland, who had headed Spota's anti-corruption unit, to surrender to prison officials before 2 p.m. on Nov. 10 and told Spota to turn himself in before 2 p.m. on Dec. 10.

A jury in 2019 convicted the co-defendants of conspiracy, obstruction of justice, witness tampering and acting as accessories to the deprivation of prisoner Christopher Loeb's civil rights.

Jurors found Spota and McPartland orchestrated a cover-up of Loeb's 2012 beating in a Suffolk police precinct that James Burke, who was then Suffolk police chief, carried out with three detectives. The assault happened after Loeb, then addicted to heroin, stole a duffel bag from Burke's department vehicle with items inside it that included his gun belt, ammunition, pornography, sex toys and Viagra.

Burke pleaded guilty in 2016 to conspiracy to commit obstruction of justice and the deprivation of Loeb's civil rights. He then served most of a 46-month prison sentence before his release to a halfway house.

The U.S. Attorney's Office for the Eastern District previously has opposed the defense motion for Spota and McPartland to remain free on bail during their appeals. Azrack's decision on that matter remains pending.

U.S. Attorney's Office spokesman John Marzulli declined to comment Wednesday on Krantz's letter or whether prosecutors would file a response to it with the court. Krantz also declined to comment Wednesday.

But Krantz's letter to the judge indicates prosecutors "do not consent" to the defense request that she delay McPartland's prison surrender date to Dec. 10.

In seeking the delay, Krantz cited reasons that included giving Azrack "adequate time to consider" the defense's bail motion. Krantz also said that if Azrack denies that motion, the defense "will need adequate time to seek bail before the Second Circuit."

His letter added that "it may be helpful" to the federal appeals court in terms of scheduling "if Mr. McPartland and Mr. Spota had the same surrender date."

Krantz also wrote that a delay in McPartland's surrender would provide more time for the defense to try to change McPartland's custody assignment.

There are no court filings indicating where Spota could serve his sentence.

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