Suffolk lawmakers have asked District Attorney Thomas Spota to appear before the legislature next week to address “the accusations and allegations against your office.”
Public Safety Committee chairwoman Kate Browning (WF-Shirley) wrote Monday that Legis. William Lindsay III (D-Bohemia) wants Spota to appear at the next committee meeting on June 16.
Browning in the letter cited “reports in the media directed at you and your Bureau Chief McPartland.” Newsday has reported that Christopher McPartland, the district attorney’s top corruption prosecutor, is the subject of a federal grand jury investigation.
Browning wasn’t specific about other issues in her letter. But in an interview, she cited disclosures in Newsday that Spota’s office failed to prosecute possible criminal activity uncovered in wiretaps, including drug trafficking that led to the sale of cocaine to local teenagers. She also said Spota should address a May 30 Newsday story in which police and prosecutors blamed each other for releasing six suspected gang members arrested on felony charges.
“The accusations and allegations pertaining to the district attorney’s office have gone on for too long,” Browning wrote.
Browning wrote that Lindsay “believes, as do many other legislators, that the issues need to be addressed within the public domain in order to provide full transparency for the betterment of the county.” Lindsay requested that Browning, as chairwoman of the public safety committee, write the letter.
Robert Clifford, spokesman for the district attorney’s office, did not respond to a request for comment.
Spota, a Democrat, has said he has done nothing wrong.
Lindsay said in an interview that Spota assured him in a private phone call he did nothing wrong, but that he should answer questions in public.
“The integrity of the office is in question, as well as the entire county government, and I believe in order to be transparent he should have the opportunity to respond in a public forum,” Lindsay said.
If Spota doesn’t appear, Lindsay said, “at that point I’d have no choice but to join the calls of those asking for his resignation.”
Browning, Sheriff Vincent DeMarco, County Executive Steve Bellone and five of the six Republican lawmakers have called for Spota to resign. None of the 11 Democrats have called for Spota to resign. Browning caucuses with the Democrats.