The Blue Wall of Baloney

Schwarz's 'Innocence' Team Moves From Miss to Miss

Volpe testified that it was the rear-handcuffed Louima, not he, who repeatedly screamed "Fuck you" in the bathroom prior to the sodomizing, and that, even more amazingly, Louima never made so much as a sound when his rectum and bladder were shattered. Volpe denied that he kicked Louima in the groin, or that anyone helped him assault Louima, though the medical evidence establishes that Louima was kicked and couldn't have been sodomized by only one cop. Volpe admitted he'd deceived his own family, colleagues, and lawyers for 21 months—even concocting the despicable lie that Louima was injured in a homosexual act prior to his arrest. While Volpe's testimony apparently contaminated Schwarz in the eyes of jurors, it has had no effect on Schwarz's media hucksters.

The Schwarz team will have to decide whether Walsh or Volpe will help if called as witnesses at the upcoming trial, scheduled for June. The biggest challenge the government faces—aside from cop journalists mesmerized by their PBA sources—is that politics may break up its team. Senator Chuck Schumer is considering George Pataki's nominee to replace the U.S. attorney in Brooklyn, Alan Vinegrad, who personally tried both Louima cases and won. The suggested replacement, Roslynn Mauskopf, has no experience as a federal prosecutor. She qualified for Pataki's nomination by serving for the last six years as his very tame inspector general, where she's managed to make far more friends at the highest levels of the administration than cases.

State Comptroller Carl McCall, Martin Luther King III, Andrew Young, and the leadership of the state's Black and Latino Legislative Caucus are opposed to her nomination. The only known case she's ever had involving the PBA was in 1987, when she was working for Manhattan District Attorney Robert Morgenthau on a probe of then powerhouse PBA counsel Richie Hartman. Hartman, who was accused of stealing his clients' escrow accounts and has since been convicted in a federal racketeering case, was given a pass by Morgenthau and forced merely to surrender his law license.

Pataki has nominated an even less qualified candidate for U.S. attorney upstate—a deputy tax commissioner without a day of prosecutorial experience who ran to Florida in 2000 to do ballot work for the Bushes, just as she did in the 1998 electoral war launched by Attorney General Dennis Vacco. The governor had a pathetic one-man screening panel—John O'Mara, the lobbying partner of former senator Al D'Amato—review these prestigious appointments. Yet Schumer, who chairs a key Senate judiciary subcommittee, may acquiesce on Mauskopf.

If he does, and neither Schwarz nor the other Louima cops are successfully retried, the senator's selective attempt at "bipartisanship" will come at a very heavy social cost.

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

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