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Jury Deliberates in Louima Retrial

July 9, 2002

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NEW YORK (AP) _ A jury began deliberations Tuesday in the retrial of an ex-patrolman accused of helping torture Abner Louima in a police station bathroom in 1997.

The defendant, Charles Schwarz, 36, was convicted at two previous trials of violating Louima’s civil rights following his arrest in a street brawl, and conspiring to cover up the crime.

Schwarz’s convictions were tossed out earlier this year by a federal appeals court, which found that his lawyer didn’t defend him adequately and that the jury was tainted by news reports. He had been serving a 15-year term and could face a similar sentence if convicted on civil rights and perjury charges.

Federal prosecutors accuse Schwarz of restraining the handcuffed Louima while another former officer, Justin Volpe, sodomized him with a broken broomstick in a fit of rage. Schwarz denied ever being in the precinct bathroom.

Volpe, who pleaded guilty, is serving a 30-year sentence. The city and a police union paid Louima, a Haitian immigrant, more than $8 million to settle a lawsuit.

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