Suffolk reaches $16M settlement with man wrongfully convicted of 1975 murder
Suffolk County announced Friday a settlement with a man whose murder case was overturned 44 years after his arrest.
Suffolk Executive Steve Bellone said a $16 million settlement was reached between the county and Keith Bush.
"As county executive, on behalf of the people of this county, I am so sorry for what you unjustly endured here," Bellone said to Bush during the announcement.
As News 12 Long Island has reported, Bush was exonerated back in 2019 after spending 33 years in prison for a North Bellport murder he did not commit.
Back in 1975, Bush was just 17 years old when he was arrested and said he was beaten by Suffolk police and forced to sign a confession.
He maintained his innocence for decades and Suffolk officials say police and then-District Attorney Tom Spota failed to do their job and even hid key evidence that would have proved Bush's innocence.
"All of us as taxpayers paid for the kind of corruption that Tom Spota personified over his decades in office," Bellone said.
"When you hide information and tamper with information and intimidate witnesses and force confessions, and to do the things they did, it was unthinkable, and it was, basically, a total disrespect to the constitution and what this tree of democracy should be about," Bush said. "What was going on in Suffolk County is definitely not isolated to me."
"The Keith Bush case is not an isolated incident. It is the most extreme example of a systemic problem stretching back decades that has been costly in so many ways to so many people," Bellone added.
The Suffolk County District Attorney's Office formed a Conviction Integrity Bureau a few years ago to investigate claims of innocence and remedy wrongful convictions.