Christopher Loeb shows up at ex-DA Spota jury selection in cover-up trial

Posted: Updated:

The long-awaited trial of Suffolk County's former top prosecutor began Tuesday, and a familiar face was on hand to watch.

Jury selection began in the trial of Thomas Spota and his former aide Christopher McPartland. Both are accused of witness tampering and obstruction.

Prosecutors say Spota and McPartland tried to cover up the beating of Christopher Loeb by then-Police Chief James Burke. Loeb watched the proceedings inside the Central Islip courtroom and took notes. He spoke with reporters upon leaving during a lunchbreak.  

"I'm here to stand up for the people just like me who have been wronged," he said.

The juror questionnaire asked "who's who" in Suffolk politics and law enforcement. Hundreds of potential jurors were asked if they have any connection to former Suffolk Police Chief James Burke, former Suffolk Executive Steve Levy, current County Executive Steve Bellone and Rep. Kathleen Rice, the former Nassau District Attorney.

The judge also told potential jurors that they will hear testimony from individuals with alcohol and substance abuse issues and asked whether that would affect their ability to be fair and impartial.

Loeb received a $1.5 million settlement from Suffolk County last year as a result of the Burke incident. He was arrested in April for allegedly being high on multiple drugs and driving more than 100 mph on the Long Island Expressway.

"For the record, I'm sober. I'm not on drugs. I'm not on any dope. So, if I wind up dead – I'm not suicidal and I'm not on drugs," he said.

Loeb and Burke are not expected to testify in this case. Sources say several former Suffolk police officers who pleaded guilty in secret proceedings for their roles in the alleged coverup are expected to take the stand.

The entire trial is expected to last about four weeks.

Court papers: Former Suffolk DA Spota, top aide plotted to obstruct justice 
Spota, under indictment, finishes DA career under cloud of cover-up charges 
Suffolk County DA Tom Spota to 'leave post' after indictment  
Executive Bellone says Tom Spota must resign 
Prosecutors: Suffolk DA Spota, top aide helped in Burke cover-up  
Suffolk DA Spota not seeking re-election Suffolk lawmakers ask DA Spota to testify 


sorry to interrupt
your first 20 are free
Access to News 12 is free for Optimum, Comcast®, Spectrum Networks® and Service ElectricSM customers.
Please enjoy 20 complimentary views of articles, photos, and videos during the next 30 days.
you have reached your 20 view limit
Access to News 12 is free for Optimum, Comcast®, Spectrum Networks® and Service ElectricSM customers.
Please login or create an account to continue enjoying News12.
Our sign-up page is undergoing maintenance and is not currently available. However, you will be given direct access to while we complete our upgrade.
When we are back up and running you will be prompted at that time to complete your sign in. Until then, enjoy the local news, weather, traffic and more that's "as local as local news gets."