Defense wraps up closing arguments in Louima case
June 3, 1999
NEW YORK (CNN) -- The defense finished its closing arguments Thursday for four New York City police officers implicated in the beating and sexual torture case of Haitian immigrant Abner Louima.
The officers' supervisor, Sgt. Michael Bellomo, 37, is charged with covering up the attack in the squad car and lying to federal investigators.
Schwarz also faces the more serious charge that he held Louima down while police officer Justin Volpe sodomized him with a wooden stick in the bathroom of a Brooklyn precinct.
Volpe has plead guilty in the case.
The attack on Louima raised protests across the city and angry charges of police brutality.
Schwarz's attorney, Stephen Worth, told the court that "they have tried to make this case into a culture of police brutality, but it never was. It is the case of one sick individual, Justin Volpe."
Throughout the six hours of closing arguments, defense attorneys repeatedly referred to the fact that Louima has never positively identified Schwarz, Bruder or Wiese in the assault.
They also alleged that Louima and his family lied about the patrol car assault to bolster his report of the bathroom attack and his subsequent $155 million lawsuit against the city.
Bellomo was charged "because the prosecution needed a boss in this case," his attorney, John Patton, told the court.
"There is a claim that Michael Bellomo is the Machiavelli of all Machiavellians," Patton said. "That is not the case, this is a trumped up investigation."
After he left the court, Bellomo told reporters that "they wanted a supervisor, and it was between me and Sgt. Fallon. I guess I lost."
Schwarz faces the possibility of a life sentence if the jury finds he participated in the sexual assault on Louima. The other three defendants face possible sentences of five to 10 years.
The prosecution will have an opportunity to rebut the defense's closing arguments Thursday before the judge charges the jury.
The jury is expected to get the case on Friday.
Prosecution concludes arguments in Louima case
Official New York City Web site
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