Wednesday, March 3, 2021
An attorney's federal conviction has resulted in automatic disbarment by the New York Appellate Division for the Second Judicial Department.
We conclude that the respondent’s conviction of the federal crime of tampering with a witness, victim, or informant in violation of 18 USC §§ 1512(b)(1), (2)(A) and (3) and (c)(2) is essentially similar to the New York felony of tampering with a witness in the third degree in violation of Penal Law § 215.11 (see Matter of Spota, 184 AD3d 301; Matter of Davenport, 119 AD2d 247). By virtue of his federal felony conviction, the respondent was automatically disbarred and ceased to be an attorney pursuant to Judiciary Law § 90(4)(a).
The conviction was described in a press release of the United States Attorneys Office for the Eastern District of New York
Former Suffolk County District Attorney Thomas J. Spota and Christopher McPartland, the former Chief of Investigations and Chief of the Government Corruption Bureau of the Suffolk County District Attorney’s Office (SCDAO), were convicted today by a federal jury in Central Islip, New York, of all four counts of the indictment charging them with conspiracy to tamper with witnesses and obstruct an official proceeding, witness tampering, obstruction of justice, and being accessories after-the-fact to former Suffolk County Police Department (SCPD) Chief of Department James Burke’s deprivation of a prisoner’s civil rights. The verdict followed a six-week trial before United States District Judge Joan M. Azrack. When sentenced, Spota and McPartland each face up to 20 years’ imprisonment.
...As proven at trial, Spota and McPartland, the top prosecutors in Suffolk County, abused their leadership positions and authority within the SCDAO to obstruct and attempt to obstruct the FBI and federal grand juries investigating the assault of a SCPD prisoner, Christopher Loeb, in order to protect then-Chief Burke. On December 14, 2012, Loeb was arrested on larceny charges, among other offenses, in connection with his burglarizing Burke’s department-issued vehicle and stealing Burke’s gun belt and ammunition, as well as a duffel bag containing cigars, sex toys, a pornographic video and a bottle of Viagra. Loeb was transported to the Fourth Precinct in Hauppauge, New York, where he was assaulted by Burke and other members of the SCPD, while handcuffed and shackled to the floor.