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Judge sets sentencing date for former Suffolk DA, top aide

Former Suffolk DA Thomas Spota, left, and former

Former Suffolk DA Thomas Spota, left, and former Spota aide Christopher McPartland... Credit: Newsday File/Barry Sloan/James Carbone

Former Suffolk County District Attorney Thomas Spota and his onetime top aide, both convicted of orchestrating the cover-up of a prisoner beating by ex-police Chief James Burke, will have to wait until August to learn their fates, a federal judge said Wednesday.

U.S. District Judge Joan M. Azrack, in an order, set the sentencing for Aug. 10. Additionally, the judge said a hearing will be held next Wednesday afternoon for the prosecution and defense to argue over how the judge should interpret federal sentencing guidelines in the case.

Prosecutors have argued that Spota, 79, of Mount Sinai and his then-government corruption bureau chief Christopher McPartland, 55, of Northport, should each spend 8 years in prison -- an upward deviation from the guidelines.

Prosecutors wrote in court papers earlier this year that a sentence within the guidelines would not "adequately capture nor appropriately punish the defendants."

Defense attorneys for the pair have said their clients should receive no jail time -- but home confinement and community service. Their sentencings have been postponed multiple times.

The defense argued their clients had already received harsh punishments in the form of embarrassment and the inability to practice law. Both have been stripped of their law licenses.

The two were each convicted of conspiracy, obstruction of justice, witness tampering and civil rights violations in December 2019 for helping to orchestrate the cover-up of Burke's beating of shackled prisoner Christopher Loeb.

Probation officials have recommended Spota serve 57 to 71 months in prison and that McPartland be sentenced to 46 to 57 months in prison.

Prosecutors have also called for Spota to pay a "substantial" fine of at least $100,000, citing what they said was Spota's $17 million estimated net worth and his taxpayer-funded pension of just under $9,000 monthly.

Burke, who had close relationships with Spota and McPartland, pleaded guilty in 2016 to violating the civil rights of the prisoner he assaulted, Christopher Loeb, of Smithtown, for stealing his gym bag containing sex toys and pornography from his police vehicle. He served most of a 46-month sentence in federal prison.

Defense attorneys for Spota did not respond to a message seeking comment late Wednesday. Larry H. Krantz, who represents McPartland, said he had no comment.

Under federal sentencing guidelines, various factors are considered, such as the defendant's role in the crime and the severity of the crime. The judge makes the final decision.

Burke assaulted Loeb in 2012 after the drug addict stole a "party bag" from the chief's car that his gun belt, ammunition, a box of cigars, police union cards, sex toys, pornography and Viagra, according to prosecutors.

According to prosecutors, Spota and McPartland were aware of the beating and used their positions of power to thwart a federal investigation into Burke’s actions.

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