DA Spota says he never spoke with Bellone about Burke

Spota says that while he never did speak to Bellone about Burke, he did vouch for him in a letter sent to the transition team.

Spota says that while he never did speak to Bellone about Burke, he did vouch for him in a letter sent to the transition team. (5/4/16)

WOODBURY - Suffolk County District Attorney Tom Spota says he never spoke to the county executive about greenlighting the man Steve Bellone wanted to appoint as police chief -- a man who later admitted to assaulting a suspect and covering it up.

As News 12 reported Monday, Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone says he received an anonymous letter in December 2011 warning him not to promote Burke to police chief because he "was known to frequent prostitutes," had his gun stolen and threatened subordinates. Bellone says he directly asked Spota about it.

Spota says that while he never did speak to Bellone about Burke, he did vouch for him in a letter sent to the transition team. Specifically, he says he sent that letter to Kevin Law.

In 2011, Law was heading up the national search for a new Suffolk police commissioner. Now, Law says he does not recall receiving such a letter about Burke and is not sure why he would receive one when he was charged with finding a new commissioner, not police chief.

Spota says he was advocating for Burke for his position as chief of police because he was a longtime friend and served him for 10 years without a problem.

Suffolk Democratic Party chairman Richard Schaffer is among those who have criticized Bellone for not checking Burke's internal affairs or personal file, despite who may or may not have been vouching for him.

Bellone on Wednesday declined a request to comment further.

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