New York Post
March 2, 2002



Andra Schwarz is all smiles yesterday, fielding a call from Justin Volpe's father and reading the good news about her husband's case in The Post
- D. Brinzac

Two of the three ex-cops who won reversals of their convictions in the Abner Louima torture case want their jobs back — along with tens of thousands of dollars in back pay.

Joseph Tacopina, the lawyer for Thomas Wiese, said last night that the former cop will file papers Monday to be reinstated in the NYPD.

Wiese will also begin the process to obtain two years of back pay — $80,000, he said.

"There's two years worth of back pay that he's entitled to after being wrongfully terminated from the Police Department," the attorney said.

Stuart London, the lawyer for Thomas Bruder, said that ex-cop also plans to seek reinstatement — and will seek $100,000 in back pay.

"The basis on which they were terminated is no longer valid," London said.

The Police Department declined to comment.

On Thursday, a federal appeals court tossed out the convictions of Wiese and Bruder — as well as ex-cop Charles Schwarz — for trying to cover up one of the worst police-brutality cases in the city's history.

The court also reversed Schwarz's conviction on charges of holding Louima down in a Brooklyn station house bathroom while officer Justin Volpe sodomized him with a stick.

But it ordered a new trial for Schwarz, barring him from seeking immediate reinstatement.

State law allows Wiese and Bruder to apply to get their jobs back since their convictions were thrown out.

But once they apply, the NYPD will hold a departmental trial to see if they acted properly in the Louima case, experts said.

If they lose the trial and the department decides to fire them, it could argue they don't deserve back pay.

But Wiese and Bruder could argue they deserve their salaries from the time they were convicted to the time their convictions were reversed.

Schwarz, meanwhile, still can't believe that his conviction has been tossed out.

So much so that he called his wife, Andra, and his lawyer, Ron Fischetti, from his Oklahoma City prison yesterday to ask if he had been dreaming.

"He told us he had spent all night pacing his cell wondering whether he actually had heard what Andra and I had told him," Fischetti said.

Andra said, "I and Ron kept on telling him, 'Yes, we did speak to you the day before and, yes, you are coming home.'

"He is believing it now, particularly when I told him that his mother, Estelle, is going to cook him a Christmas dinner, even though it isn't Christmas," Andra added.

Fischetti said Schwarz's confusion is understandable since he had gone to the Oklahoma City prison "with no personal effects, no radio and, of course, no newspapers."

"He is in a 6-by-9-foot cell and has no personal contact with anyone. That could play tricks with one's mind."

On learning that Schwarz's conviction had been overturned, Fischetti immediately arranged a bail hearing next Thursday before Brooklyn federal Judge Reema Raggi.

And since Schwarz, 36, was free on bail before his June 8, 1999, conviction in the Louima case, he is expected to be freed on bond.

Additional reporting by Al Guart and Murray Weiss