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#2637: NYC Lawyers Clash in Louima Case (fwd)


Wednesday March 1 6:43 AM ET  NYC Lawyers Clash in Louima Case

 By RICHARD PYLE Associated Press Writer 

 NEW YORK (AP) - Attorneys have wrapped up arguments in another
high-profile trial involving New York City police officers and an
immigrant, this one a Haitian brutalized in a Brooklyn stationhouse.
 Less than a week after four white officers were acquitted of charges in
the shooting death of Amadou Diallo, jurors were expected to begin
deliberations today in the case against officers Charles Schwarz, Thomas
Wiese and Thomas Bruder. All three are charged with covering up
Schwarz's role in the 1997 sodomy attack on Abner Louima in a
stationhouse bathroom. With public outrage still simmering over Friday's
verdict in the Diallo case, the president of the union representing New
York City police officers voiced concerns about the fate of the Louima
officers. Patrick Lynch, president of the Patrolmen's Benevolent
Association, said he is worried about fallout from the Diallo verdict
``seeping into the jury pool'' of the Schwarz trial. The Louima jury has
not been sequestered since testimony began Feb. 7. Last week, the Diallo
officers were cleared of second-degree murder and lesser charges in the
1999 shooting of the unarmed African immigrant outside his Bronx
 home. Prosecutors say Schwarz, 34, held Louima down while another
officer, Justin Volpe, sodomized the Haitian immigrant with a broom
handle in a fit of rage. Schwarz then allegedly agreed with Wiese, 34,
and Bruder, 37, to cover up Schwarz's role. Volpe is serving 30 years in
prison after pleading guilty in May to violating Louima's civil rights.
 Last June, Schwarz was convicted of assault and civil rights violations
and faces a possible life sentence. He was acquitted, along with Wiese
and Bruder, of beating Louima in a patrol car on the way to the
stationhouse. At this trial, the three could get up to five years in
prison if convicted of conspiracy to obstruct justice. The case was
tried separately because it deals with statements made by the three
officers that were ruled inadmissible at the first trial. Schwarz, a
former Marine, denied that he was even in the 70th Precinct bathroom
 when Volpe attacked Louima. Schwarz, Wiese and Bruder also say that a
flurry of phone calls among them in the weeks following the incident
were not part of any effort to invent an alibi for Schwarz as the
government claims.