Retired Suffolk detective says he feared being targeted by Burke, DA’s office

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A retired Suffolk police detective testified Wednesday in the obstruction trial of former district attorney Thomas Spota and his top aide Christopher McPartland that there was fear and paranoia in the ranks of the Suffolk County Police Department after the assault of Christopher Loeb.

On Tuesday, Kenneth Bombace – who has immunity in the case – admitted that he was in the room and took part in the 2012 assault of Loeb alongside former police chief James Burke. Bombace said he felt tremendous pressure to get a confession out of Loeb, who had broken into the chief's car and stole a bag containing sex toys and pornography.

As an example of the fear and paranoia – Bombace testified that a GPS tracking device had been placed – on Burke’s orders – on the car of Deputy Commissioner Risco Mention-Lewis – someone that Burke “wasn’t fond of.” Bombace said he and a contractor hired by the district attorney’s office – and a friend of Burke’s – took the GPS off her car while it was parked at police headquarters. Bombace said he served as a lookout.

MORE: DA Spota says he never spoke with Bellone about Burke 2011 letter from Spota denies James Burke misdeeds 

On the stand, Bombace also said he felt pressure to keep quiet, not only from Burke and Lt. James Hickey, but from the Suffolk PBA. Bombace said he worried if he cooperated with the federal investigation, something could happen to his children. 

Bombace said that he and his family went into hiding at a Nassau County hotel for two days before he spoke to the federal grand jury in 2015.

"I had an underlying fear that if I went to see my attorney that I would be targeted," Bombace testified.

When asked who he was fearful of, he said, "Chief Burke and his associates" and "what I perceived was the district attorney's office too."

On cross-examination, defense attorneys asked Bombace if he had direct knowledge that Spota and McPartland took part in the cover-up. They also asked if he had conversations with either of them about Loeb’s assault and the cover-up. His answer was “no.”

Attorneys for Spota and McPartland have denied their clients knew that Burke assaulted Loeb. The government's key witness, Lt. Hickey, isn't expected to testify until next week.

RELATED STORIES: 
Former Suffolk officer admits he took part in Loeb beating during testimony in Spota trial 
Town of Babylon supervisor testifies at Spota, McPartland trial 
Prosecutors: Spota, McPartland abused public trust to protect ‘crooked cop friend’ 
Jury selected in former Suffolk DA Spota cover-up trial 
Christopher Loeb shows up at ex-DA Spota jury selection in cover-up trial 

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