October 26, 2017 / 7:44 PM / a year ago

N.Y. prosecutor to retire after being charged in beating cover-up

NEW YORK (Reuters) - A district attorney on Long Island, New York, announced his retirement on Thursday, one day after he was arraigned on federal charges that he helped cover up a police chief’s assault on an handcuffed inmate.

Thomas Spota, the 76-year-old district attorney of Suffolk County, said he would be stepping down “at the earliest opportunity after the resolution of normal administrative matters relating to my retirement.” His statement did not address the charges he faces.

The federal indictment stems from an incident in December 2012, when, authorities say, then-Suffolk County Police Chief James Burke beat a jailed inmate who had been arrested for breaking into his car.

Spota and the chief of his anti-public corruption bureau, Christopher McFarland, face charges for trying to quash a federal probe into Burke’s actions.

Burke pleaded guilty in 2016 and was sentenced to just under four years in prison.

Spota and McFarland pleaded not guilty on Wednesday in federal court on Long Island.

Suffolk County comprises the eastern half of Long Island and has a population of approximately 1.5 million.

Reporting by Joseph Ax; Editing by Steve Orlofsky

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