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2nd Democrat criticizes Spota’s failure to appear before panel

Thomas Spota, Suffolk County's district attorney, is pictured

Thomas Spota, Suffolk County's district attorney, is pictured in a file photo. Credit: Newsday / John Paraskevas

A second Democratic lawmaker has criticized District Attorney Thomas Spota for not answering questions in front of the Legislature’s Public Safety Committee on Thursday.

Legis. Bridget Fleming (D-Southampton) said the request by Legis. William Lindsay III (D-Bohemia) for Spota to appear Thursday was a “legitimate exercise of legislative duties.”

Fleming, speaking at the Legislature’s Public Safety Committee, said, “The fact that he feels he cannot appear, for whatever reason, is an indication that Mr. Spota may be unable to fulfill the basic responsibilities of his position at this time, which I find to be a serious concern.”

Spota in a letter Monday declined to appear to answer questions about multiple stories in the media, citing an ongoing U.S. Attorney’s Office investigation.

Fleming, a former prosecutor in the Manhattan district attorney’s office, said the county’s charter empowers lawmakers to investigate the performance of county departments and offices.

“With all the concerns swirling around the DA’s office, including inconsistent statements by the district attorney himself or his spokesman, I believe it would certainly be a legitimate undertaking of this committee to put questions to Mr. Spota,” she said.

While Fleming and Lindsay have said Spota should answer questions, neither has called for him to resign.

The district attorney’s office did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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