The Gag Order on the Louima Case Plea Bargain
The New York Times criticizes the gag order aspect of the Louima/Schwarz plea deal in its editorial today, An End to the Louima Case.
"An unfortunate aspect of last weekend's deal is the gag order attached to it. The prosecutors, Mr. Schwarz, his wife and his lawyers are barred from talking publicly about what happened. That may be satisfactory for the defendant and the prosecutor, but it is not in the public's interest."
We disagree. Silence most definitely is in the public interest. It was clear that Schwarz was never going to admit he was the second cop in the bathroom with Volpe as Volpe attacked Louima. It was equally clear the Government would not abandon its theory Schwarz was that second cop. Louima has said all along he can't positively identify the second cop. Wiese, who Schwarz claims was the second cop in the bathroom with Volpe, isn't talking because he still has (and likely always will have) a fifth amendment privilege on the issue.
As to Justin Volpe, serving 30 years for committing the brutal attack, who in their right mind would believe what he has to say? Especially after the tapes of Volpe talking to his father in jail surfaced at Schwarz' last trial--tapes of Volpe saying he was only testifying for Schwarz because he thought there was something in it for him, like less time.
We think silence is preferable to and far more in the public interest than the alternative--having to listen to ex-cop Schwarz proclaim his innocence and unjust persecution and prosecution until the end of time. Since we're never going to know the real truth, it's fitting that we take away both sides' soapbox.
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