Suffolk Democratic Party Chair Schaffer Testifies In Spota Trial

Nov 19, 2019

Suffolk Democratic Party Chairman Richard Schaffer spent Monday on the witness stand in the federal corruption trial of former District Attorney Thomas Spota and his top aide, Christopher McPartland.

The two men are accused of orchestrating a cover-up after former Suffolk County Police Chief James Burke beat a man in police custody who had broken into his car. 

Both have pleaded not guilty.

Schaffer testified that he introduced Burke to Steve Bellone, who was then county executive-elect, in an effort to help Burke get the job.

Soon after, Bellone got an anonymous letter that Burke frequented prostitutes. Schaffer says Spota then wrote a letter to Bellone that praised Burke’s leadership qualities.

Schaffer says he felt good about introducing Burke to Bellone because of Spota’s support.