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Steve Bellone: Thomas Spota conviction closed 'dark chapter' in Suffolk County history

Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone, speaking Friday at the Long Island Association's State of the Region event, said the conviction of former Suffolk District Attorney Thomas Spota on corruption charges represents a “the closing of a dark chapter in this county’s history." (Credit: Howard Schnapp)

Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone said Friday the conviction of former Suffolk District Attorney Thomas Spota on corruption charges represents "the closing of a dark chapter in this county’s history.”

Speaking to about 1,000 people at an event organized by the Long Island Association, Bellone said a federal jury last month found Spota had “abused the power of his office … [and] That climate of intimidation and fear really had a crippling effect on Suffolk County government.”

An attorney for Spota did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Spota served as Suffolk's top prosecutor from 2002 through late 2017. 

Spota and Christopher McPartland, a former top aide, were convicted in federal court last month of orchestrating a cover-up of then Suffolk Police Chief James Burke’s beating of a handcuffed burglary suspect in a police precinct in 2012.

Spota and McPartland are scheduled to be sentenced April 30, according to court filings.

In 2016, Bellone had called for Spota to resign amid a federal probe of the district attorney's office. “This was a criminal enterprise operating out of that office,” Bellone said Friday.

Bellone tapped Burke in 2011 to lead the police department on the recommendation of Spota, a longtime Burke supporter. Burke resigned from the department in 2015, pleaded guilty to corruption charges and served a prison sentence.


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