[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index]

#2289: Volpe Promised To Protect Schwarz... (fwd)


Feds: Volpe Promised To Protect Schwarz Letter says lawyer told he
wouldn't be implicated_______ By Patricia Hurtado. STAFF WRITER

 Federal prosecutors said yesterday that while negotiating a plea
agreement last year, former police officer Justin Volpe assured        
Charles Schwarz' lawyer that he would not implicate Schwarz in the
sodomy of Abner Louima.  In a letter submitted to U.S. District Court
Judge Eugene Nickerson, federal prosecutors Alan Vinegrad and Lauren
Resnick said they had  "one or more witnesses" who overheard a
conversation on May 20, 1999, in which Volpe made the assurance to
lawyer Stephen Worth, who was representing Schwarz at the time. 
The letter charges that the conversation occurred in the courthouse
lobby during a lunch break while Volpe's lawyer, Marvyn Kornberg,
was discussing a plea deal with prosecutors on the fifth floor of the
Brooklyn federal courthouse. That day Kornberg had stopped
cross-examining police witnesses against his client, such as Sgt.
Kenneth Wernick, who testified Volpe had confessed to sodomizing Louima
and bragged, "I took a man  down." The letter states that Worth
"confronted Volpe in the lobby of the courthouse" and in response to a
question from Worth, Volpe said: "Don't worry, man. I'm not going to say
nothing." Worth then thanked Volpe, the letter said. Asked yesterday
about the alleged comments, Worth said: "They know where to find me. I'd
be happy to respond to a subpoena." On May 25, Volpe pleaded guilty to
violating Louima's civil rights by sodomizing him with a stick and
beating him while handcuffed. Schwarz was convicted of helping restrain
Louima while Volpe sodomized him. Two codefendants, police officers
Thomas Wiese  and Thomas Bruder, were acquitted of beating Louima in a
police squad car en route to the 70th Precinct station house. The letter
came to light as Vinegrad and Resnick, both assistant U.S. attorneys,
prosecuted Bruder, Wiese and Schwarz for allegedly conspiring to cover
up Schwarz' role in the attack on Louima.  Prosecutors are seeking to
use the letter in the new trial as evidence of Schwarz' culpability in
the bathroom attack. "Volpe would have had no reason to indicate to
Schwarz' attorney his  intent to 'say nothing' if Schwarz had not
participated in the sexual  assault of Mr. Louima. Thus for all these
reasons, Volpe's statement is admissible," the prosecutors wrote.     
Nickerson has not ruled on the prosecutors' request. When he pleaded
guilty, Volpe said there was a "second officer" in the bathroom who did
not participate in the assault but "did nothing to  stop it." Volpe also
insisted at his sentencing in December that it was not Schwarz in the
bathroom, but Wiese. Schwarz' current lawyer, Ronald Fischetti, said: "I
can't comment on the letter because I don't know if these allegations
have any  substance. I have to first speak to Mr. Volpe and Mr. Worth to
 determine if they do."