Channel 2: WCBS News

March 26, 2002


Schwarz Indicted For Perjury

Charged With Lying About Role In Abner Louima Torture Case


(AP) (NEW YORK) Mar 25, 2002 5:11 pm US/Eastern — A federal grand jury on Monday indicted former New York Police Department officer Charles Schwarz on perjury charges for allegedly lying about his role in the torture of Abner Louima.

Schwarz, who already faced a retrial for his alleged role in the brutal attack, now faces two additional counts of perjury under the new indictment.

The indictment states that Schwarz lied twice Feb. 23, 2000, during a federal trial in which he and two other former officers were accused of obstructing justice.

The indictment states that Schwarz lied when he denied escorting Louima from the 70th Precinct desk on Aug. 9, 1997, and when he denied being in the bathroom with Louima when he was assaulted. It states that Schwarz escorted the Haitian immigrant from the desk and was with him in the bathroom.

Earlier this month, the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals overturned Schwarz's conviction and that of two other former police officers in the case.

The court ordered that Schwarz be retried on civil rights charges related to his role in the torture of Louima in the precinct bathroom. Schwarz had been serving his 15-year sentence in an Oklahoma prison, but is free on $1 million bail.

In its ruling, the three-judge panel said Schwarz's first lawyer did not defend him adequately and that the jury was tainted by news reports when it convicted him of violating Louima's civil rights by holding him down during the assault.

In addition, the court said there was insufficient evidence to sustain the obstruction-of-justice convictions of Schwarz and officers Thomas Wiese and Thomas Bruder. The court found that while the officers may have misled investigators, there was insufficient evidence to support the broad obstruction charge.

The ruling did not affect the guilty plea of the main attacker, Justin Volpe, who admitted he sodomized the handcuffed Louima with a broken broomstick in a fit of rage. Volpe is serving 30 years.

The appeals court entered a judgment of acquittal for all three officers on the obstruction charges. Wiese and Bruder had been given five-year prison sentences but have been free on bail during their appeal.