Hero Hoax

Law and Order Press Gives Kudos to Sleazy Schwarz

Finally, the tabloid trumpeteers of this hoax hero never write about his most trusted adviser, Anthony Abbate. The morning after the assault on Louima, Schwarz returned to the precinct for his meal break around 4 a.m., just as Internal Affairs was beginning its investigation. He and Wiese headed immediately to a pay phone in a deserted area near Brooklyn College, calling Volpe and Bruder. Then, at 6 a.m., Schwarz had a 38-minute conversation with Abbate, a former PBA official thrown off the police force after a series of disciplinary violations, including lying in two departmental investigations.

On the day after Schwarz's arrest, he, Wiese, and Abbate had 11 more conversations, immediately followed by Wiese's decision to go back to investigators and claim that it was he, not Schwarz, who took Louima to the bathroom. With Schwarz already charged and Wiese claiming he stayed outside the bathroom petting the dog, the new version was a ticket to ride for everyone but Volpe.

Abbate had already been convicted of egregiously betraying a fellow officer when he answered a radio call saying he was on his way to assist another cop while he never left his perch in a bagel shop. The subject of more than 30 civilian complaints, Abbate was also found guilty of berating a black cop, telling him to "go drive Miss Daisy," and a Latina cop, whom he called a "fucking mouse." Schwarz turned to him in his hour of need because he and Abbate had already committed perjury together, just a few months before the Louima assault. When Abbate was on departmental trial in October 1996 for lying about his abusive deriding of officer Carmen Rodriguez—using "fuck" 30 times at a domestic violence training session in the precinct—Schwarz testified that though he was right there, he never heard Abbate use profanity. When another female officer testified that she had, Schwarz glared at her in what she later swore was "an intimidating manner." After she confronted him about an anonymous letter she got calling her a rat, Schwarz "chuckled" at her and walked away.

It's not a story sweet Andra Schwarz has been repeating too often in her heart-tugging sessions with columnists, but Anthony Abbate may have had as much to do with conceiving the strategy that eventually sprung her husband from prison as she had to do with executing it.

Research assistance: Martine Guerrier, Lauren Johnston, Jess Wisloski, Peter G.H. Madsen, Jessie Goldstein

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