Schwarz Pleads Guilty in Louima Case

There will be no fourth re-trial in the case of ex-cop Charles Schwarz, accused of assisting Justin Volpe in the brutal assault on Haitian immigrant Abner Louima in the police precinct bathroom. The jury was selected Friday, but Saturday night Schwarz plead guilty to perjury for lying about being in the bathroom during the attack in exchange for a five year sentence.

"U.S. District Judge Reena Raggi sentenced Charles Schwarz to five years in prison the maximum penalty for perjury. In exchange, prosecutors dropped outstanding civil rights charges and a second perjury count. At sentencing, Raggi scolded Schwarz for lying about "a senseless and brutal attack. No free society can tolerate such conduct from a police."

We think it is a just result. Schwarz has already served 33 months (before his first and second convictions were overturned on technical grounds) and there is little to be gained by putting Abner Louima, now living in Florida and trying to put the brutal assault behind him, through the rigors of testifying yet another time.

Under the terms of the plea ageement, "Schwarz could earn a 13-month reduction in his sentence if he, his wife and his attorneys comply with an agreement not to comment on the case until Schwarz leaves prison, his attorneys said. Along with credit for good time, Schwarz' attorneys estimated that he could serve less than three years." Another " central condition of the deal essentially prohibits Mr. Schwarz from stating publicly that he is innocent of the civil rights violation, that he held Mr. Louima down while another officer, Justin A. Volpe, sodomized Mr. Louima with a broken broomstick."

As an aside, the judge, Reena Raggi sailed through senate confirmation hearings this week with a unanimous vote for her appointment to the Second Circuit Court of Appeals.

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