Wednesday, March 13, 2002 FULL SHOW | HEADLINES
2002-03-13

Louima Juror Speaks Out in "Democracy Now!" Exclusive, Calls Appeals Court Ruling 'Totallyabsurd', Remains Anonymous Out of Fear of 'Unsavory Characters' in Officer Schwarz Support Committee

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For the first time since a federal appeals court overturned the convictions of three police officers in the AbnerLouima conspiracy case, a juror is speaking out. Under cloak of anonymity for fear of what he calls "unsavorycharacters" in Charles Schwarz’s support group, the juror calls the overturning of the obstruction of justice charge"totally absurd."

"These were policemen, they knew the legal process," he said. "They know where a federal investigation leads to-itleads to a grand jury and then perhaps a trial. When they were planning to mislead the Brooklyn investigators and thefederal investigators, they weren’t figuring 'oh we'll mislead these guys but hey if it goes to a grand jury, we’llstop there, we’ll respect the federal grand jury.’ No-they were planning to mislead everybody: at the state level, atthe federal level, at every level."

The juror made these comments in an exclusive interview with Pacifica radio’s national morning news program"Democracy Now!."

In the interview, the juror says he originally believed Schwarz was innocent of the conspiracy to obstruct a federalgrand jury investigation. But, as the jury deliberated, he ultimately became convinced of Schwarz’s guilt. He saysthe jury initially took a straw vote, in which a majority of the jurors voted to acquit the officers. Now, the jurorsays he is dismayed by the reversal of the jury’s verdict:

JUROR: "I don’t remember how I voted [in the straw vote] but at the beginning I was actually in favor of acquittingSchwarz based on the evidence."

GOODMAN: Acquitting him of?

JUROR: "Of conspiracy, of being in the conspiracy."

GOODMAN: What changed for you?

JUROR: "Well you see Schwarz did not commit an overt act, which you don’t need, but if you are one of the people whocommits an overt act in a conspiracy, that’s pretty damning evidence, so poor Bruder was stuck with his overt acts ofoutright story changing and lying. And if you tell a story consistently from the beginning that could be what youbelieve, things may have been confusing and people perceive what they perceive. But when you tell one story and thenchange it, that’s a clear overt act of lying so Bruder was up the creek with that and Wiese it was clear was a partyto that because Bruder wouldn’t have said that without Wiese’s approval. Bringing Schwarz into the conspiracy wasmore tenuous and it really revolved around the contact —-and this is the most important phone call-initial contactwhen the IAB started investigating the case. Schwarz was on patrol with Wiese-they were partners—-and they calledAbbate, but it was clear Schwarz called Abbate because Schwarz was Abbate’s friend. So Schwarz initiated the processby which Wiese and Bruder developed their plan to lie and Schwarz, by making that phone call to Abbate, made it clearthat he would approve an effort to hide his role in the assault on Louima and according to the law—at leastaccording to the judge’s instructions ­ that’s enough for a conspiracy."

The juror refused to be identified, for fear of reprisal from supporters of Charles Schwarz. He said: "There’s been amini-movement built around 'free Schwarz.' I’ve looked at their website and I know about some of the people involved.Some of them are well-meaning, law-abiding people who were just fooled. And others are unsavory characters and Idon’t want to deal with them."

In particular, the juror says he is concerned about fired New York City police officer Anthony Abbate, a close friendof Schwarz. Abbate was fired from the department in 1996 for verbally abusing a female officer during an argument andthen lying about it under oath. When she testified at the Louima trial, Abbate was accused of intimidating her again.

Guest:

  • Anonymous Juror In The Louima Conspiracy Case

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