Forewoman: Jurors examined mountain of evidence before Spota, McPartland conviction

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The forewoman on the jury during the obstruction trial of Tom Spota and Christopher McPartland spoke exclusively with News 12 Wednesday regarding their decision to convict the former Suffolk district attorney and his top aide on all counts.

Spota and McPartland were convicted on conspiracy to tamper with witnesses, witness tampering, obstruction of justice and accessory after-the-fact to the deprivation of Christopher Loeb's civil rights. The charges stem from Loeb’s handcuffed beating by former Suffolk Police Chief James Burke and the conspiracy to cover it up.

Cathy Duque, a Suffolk County resident, says the jury took the decision very seriously when asked to deliberate in the trial’s sixth week – knowing they had two men’s fate in their hands.

MORE: Spota, McPartland found guilty on all counts in obstruction trial 

She says that the jurors examined the mountain of evidence and did not rely solely on the testimony of the government’s star witness – now-retired Lt. James Hickey. He was the first person to testify that he had direct conversations with Spota and McPartland about covering up the beating.

Duque says the evidence supported what Hickey said on the stand.

Jury forewoman reflects on decision in Spota trial


"It was a combination of all the evidence, all the witnesses that came forth,” she told News 12. “They presented their point of view, but in many instances, those points of view coalesced into one story.”

When asked if anything during the trial shocked her, Duque responded by saying Burke’s power to persuade people to do his bidding.

“To see people who should know better, people who should have thought about this, people we trust to be ethical in the things they do – the police department, the DA, the law enforcement folks – that was the baffling thing,” she says.

Both Spota and McPartland remain out on bail pending their sentencing. Both face up to 20 years in prison.


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