Former Suffolk District Attorney Thomas Spota, who is fighting federal charges of obstructing the criminal investigation into former police chief James Burke, paid defense attorneys more than $154,000 from campaign funds in November and December, according to state campaign filings.
In total, Spota’s campaign account has spent $290,264 with the law firm of Covington & Burling LLP since 2016.
Spota resigned as district attorney in October. Spota and his top corruption prosecutor, Christopher McPartland, have pleaded not guilty to charges including witness tampering and obstruction of justice.
The use of campaign funds for criminal defense expenses is allowed under state election law.
Former State Sen. Dean Skelos (R-Rockville Centre), who was convicted of federal corruption charges in 2015, and is appealing; and former County Executive Edward Mangano, who is fighting federal corruption charges, has paid $330,000 in campaign funds to his defense attorney.
Spota has $153,595 remaining in his campaign account, according to his state filing.
He made a $150,000 payment to Covington & Burling on Nov. 13, and then paid $4,550.21 on Dec. 8.
Spota’s attorneys at Covington & Burling didn’t respond to a call for comment.
Longtime Suffolk County District Attorney Thomas Spota and one of his chief aides on Wednesday, Oct. 25, 2017, were indicted on federal charges that they were involved in a cover-up of former Suffolk Police Chief James Burke's assault of a suspect in 2012. Spota, a Democrat who was elected in 2001 as a corruption fighter, and Christopher McPartland, the head of the district attorney's political corruption unit, pleaded not guilty at arraignment in Central Islip federal court. Each was released on a $500,000 bond.