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Thomas Spota should testify to legislature, pols say

Suffolk District Attorney Thomas Spota reacts to Suffolk

Suffolk District Attorney Thomas Spota reacts to Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone calling him to step down after a long ongoing pattern of corruption on Thursday May 12, 2016. Credit: James Carbone

Two Democrats and three Republicans called Wednesday for District Attorney Thomas Spota to answer questions before the Suffolk County Legislature after County Executive Steve Bellone’s demand that Spota resign.

Bellone last week cited disclosures in Newsday that Spota failed to prosecute possible criminal activity uncovered in wiretaps.

Legis. William Lindsay III (D-Bohemia) said he would ask Spota to resign if Spota does not answer questions at the legislature.

“Before we make any determination or ask for his termination, we have an obligation to hold public hearings and ask him to answer questions,” Lindsay said. If Spota won’t appear, “I would take the position he should resign,” Lindsay said.

Legis. Rob Calarco (D-Patchogue), deputy presiding officer, also said Spota needs to address the allegations in public. “If he doesn’t give the public answers, his credibility continues to be hurt,” Calarco said.

Spota has denied wrongdoing and said he will not step down.

After Bellone’s news conference last Thursday, Spota called lawmakers including Lindsay, Calarco and Presiding Officer DuWayne Gregory (D-Amityville) to make his case privately, the legislators said.

Spota’s spokesman, Robert Clifford, did not respond to a request for comment Wednesday.

Gregory said the 12 members of the Democratic caucus have discussed the possibility of holding private and public sit-downs with Spota, and having an outside agency come and investigate the allegations.

“We’re trying to build a consensus on what we want to do. We’re kind of all over the place,” Gregory said. “Obviously I think there are some concerns. In some way, we have to give him the opportunity to answer any questions that have arisen.”

Lindsay said he’s against a private meeting between Spota and members of the caucus.

“In this instance, that’s part of the allegation — it’s all backroom deals that are being alleged,” he said. “Any questions that are asked of the DA or any elected official should be in the public domain.”

Legis. Robert Trotta (R-Fort Salonga) delivered a letter to Gregory Wednesday asking the legislature to hold public hearings into alleged corruption in county law enforcement. The letter was co-signed by Minority Leader Kevin McCaffrey (R-Lindenhurst) and Legis. Leslie Kennedy (R-Nesconset).

Five of the six GOP lawmakers have called for Spota to resign, as has Legis. Kate Browning (WFP-Shirley), who caucuses with Democrats and chairs the legislature’s Public Safety Committee.

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