Attorney for James Burke testifies in Spota, McPartland obstruction trial

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The government wrapped up its case Tuesday against Suffolk’s former top prosecutor and his top investigator, calling some of their final witnesses inside the Central Islip courtroom. 

Tuesday, Burke’s attorney James Conway, was one of the final witnesses called by the government in its obstruction of justice case against Burke's friends, Former Suffolk District Attorney Tom Spota, and his investigator, Christopher McPartland.

Both men are accused of covering up Burke's 2012 assault of a suspect. Burke has already served his federal prison time.

On the witness stand, Conway testified that in 2016 when Burke pled guilty to assaulting the suspect, "It was quite the media storm. Mr. Burke wanted to make sure they knew he was a standup guy and to pass it on to Spota and McPartland."

The prosecutor asked if that meant Burke wanted everyone to know he wasn't cooperating with the government. Conway said “yes.”

“I think at that point, it was a foregone conclusion that he was going to get some prison term,” said Conway. “And I think a police officer going into prison at that time, he wanted it to be known he didn't cooperate with anyone, make it as easy as possible for him, incarcerated.”

After four weeks of testimony, the government rested in its case shortly after lunch.

Late Tuesday afternoon, the defense both began and rested its case, all within 20 minutes, without calling a single witness. Instead, it read several stipulations into the record. 

The stipulations had to do with some of the government exhibits and testimony that jurors had previously heard.

After the trial, Conway told News 12 that he thinks Burke is “very happy to be out of the limelight."

The jury will hear closing arguments Wednesday from the prosecution, and defense attorneys for both Spota and McPartland. They will then be charged and begin their deliberations.

Both Spota and McPartland have denied knowing Burke assaulted a suspect.

MORE:
Retired Suffolk lieutenant kept meticulous calendars of Spota, McPartland conversations 
Key witness says he had conversations with Spota, McPartland about Burke cover-up 
Ex-Suffolk detective 'feared for everything' during alleged Spota cover-up 

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