Suffolk County DA Tom Spota to 'leave post' after indictment

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CENTRAL ISLIP -

Suffolk County District Attorney Tom Spota will be "leaving his post" following a federal indictment handed down Wednesday. 

Spota, 76, and his top aide Christopher McPartland pleaded not guilty to four federal charges in Central Islip court yesterday. Prosecutors say they covered up for former police chief James Burke and intimidated witnesses. 

"I will be leaving my post as district attorney at the earliest opportunity after the resolution of normal administrative matters relating to my retirement," Spota said in a statement. "The governor will be notified of my decision today. The Chief Assistant District Attorney Emily Constant will thereafter assume my duties and responsibilities."

A spokesperson for Spota says it could take about a week until he officially leaves his post. Bellone called Spota's intent to step down "unacceptable." 

"He can deal with retirement issues after he leaves office," said Bellone. "Leaving office at some point in the future is not what this moment calls for. Not at this moment in this county's history with everything we have experienced here."

"It's going to take some time for us to fully move forward," Bellone continued. "I have no doubt that we will. But that process cannot begin until Spota and Chris McPartland are no longer in office." 

Legislators Bill Lindsay and Kate Browning say the allegations outlined in the indictment may be just the tipping point.

"We've been contacted by other people who claim to have been wronged by one way or another from the DA's office," said Lindsay. 

Law experts say defense attorneys may use Spota's arrest as part of legal arguments as well. The two candidates vying to replace Spota in November's election, Democrat Tim Sini and Republican Ray Perini, are each vowing to review questionable cases prosecuted during Spota's tenure, if elected. 

News 12 reached out to the district attorney’s office for an update on McPartland's job status. So far, there has been no response.

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