A Reporter as Prosecutor

Managing News at 'The New Yorker'

Dunleavy has been Schwarz's most aggressive defender. This swashbuckling, vintage reminder of the Front Page school of journalism spends less time on details of a case than on his visceral, initial reactions, which, I suspect, are formed before he even talks to a defense attorney.

Ed Bradley notes that 60 Minutes was interested in the case before Fischetti was even involved in it, and had a producer at the original trial. And, as Bradley told me, what he said when he later contacted Fischetti was "Give us the documents and the facts."

As for Bob Herbert, having followed his career as a stubbornly independent reporter and columnist, I doubt that anything short of an Alan Dershowitz-style "torture warrant" would make him manageable by any defense lawyer.

Attorney Ronald Fischetti, defender of Charles Schwarz
photo: Frances M. Roberts
Attorney Ronald Fischetti, defender of Charles Schwarz

Even during the original trial in the Louima case, I had doubts—as I wrote for the Voice—about Schwarz's having been the second man in the bathroom. Ed Bradley's two stories on 60 Minutes strengthened those doubts, and I did more of my own research. I then called Fischetti—he didn't call me—for copies of his and the prosecution's briefs to the Second Circuit and later, for a copy of the Second Circuit's decision.

Actually, if Fischetti is that accomplished a media manager, how come many in the press believed all along that Schwarz was guilty? Many still do, as we'll see when they focus on the next trial, if there is one.

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