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Saturday, May 25, 2024 | Back issues
Courthouse News Service Courthouse News Service

Indicted Ex-Police Chief Spits on Plea Deal

CENTRAL ISLIP, N.Y. (CN) - A New York police chief who resigned amid claims that he slapped around a suspect to pull a bunk confession rejected a plea deal from federal prosecutors Tuesday.

"At this point we anticipate going to trial on March 21," Joseph Conway, an attorney for former Suffolk Police Chief James Burke, said in a phone interview this afternoon.

Conway and a court spokeswoman were tight-lipped on the details of the reported five-year sentence prosecutors tendered at a hearing today in exchange for Burke's plea.

Burke, 51, was arrested at his home in the Long Island hamlet of St. James in December 2015 on charges that he hauled in a suspect on bogus charges of stealing a duffel bag full of pornography and sex toys from Burke's cruiser.

Prosecutors say Burke chained the man and then slapped him around to get a false confession.

"I anticipate picking a jury," Conway said of the anticipated trial start next month before U.S. District Judge Leonard Wexler.

Burke has pleaded not guilty to the accusations.

He resigned two months ahead of his arrest in October and remains on the other side of the cell at the Metropolitan Detention Center in Brooklyn, pending his next appearance on Feb. 26.

U.S. District Attorney Robert Capers said Burke scurried to cover his tracks after roughing up the suspect, and lied to FBI investigators.

The FBI opened a grand jury investigation against him in December 2012.

A spokeswoman for Brooklyn Federal Court, which is the mother-ship for the satellite branch of the Central Islip court, declined repeated requests for comment Tuesday.

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