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Feds seek long prison terms for former Long Island DA, aide

April 18, 2021 GMT

HAUPPAUGE, N.Y. (AP) — Federal prosecutors are seeing lengthy prison terms for a former Long Island prosecutor and one of his top aides convicted of helping to cover up the beating of a suspect.

Former Suffolk County District Attorney Thomas Spota and Christopher McPartland were convicted in December 2019 on counts of conspiracy, obstruction of justice, witness tampering and civil rights violations. They are scheduled to be sentenced June 30.

In a court filing Friday, prosecutors recommended the sentence should be eight years, which is longer than what is prescribed by federal sentencing guidelines, because it should “reflect the unprecedented magnitude and scope of the defendants’ abuse of power.”

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Spota and McPartland were accused of helping cover for a police chief who punched a handcuffed man suspected of stealing sex toys and pornography from the chief’s department SUV. The chief, James Burke, pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 46 months in prison and was released to home confinement after serving most of his sentence.

Probation officials have recommended that Spota should serve 57 to 71 months in prison and that McPartland should receive a sentence of 46 to 57 months in prison, Newsday reported.

“A sentence within the guidelines range does not adequately capture nor appropriately punish the defendants,” prosecutors wrote in a sentencing memorandum filed Friday. “The sentences imposed should reflect the unprecedented magnitude and scope of the defendants’ abuse of power.”

Defense attorneys are expected to file responses to the government’s sentencing memorandum. They have argued previously that the defendants should be sentenced to home confinement and community service, the newspaper reported.

Larry Krantz, McPartland’s attorney, told Newsday the government’s recommendation was “overly harsh and grossly disproportionate to the offense conduct.”