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CNN LIVE EVENT/SPECIAL

Abner Louima Holds First News Conference

Aired March 7, 2002 - 11:01   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
DARYN KAGAN, CNN ANCHOR: Haitian immigrant Abner Louima will hold his first news conference. You see it has started right now. The Reverend Al Sharpton speaking. You can see Abner Louima over his right shoulder. When Mr. Louima speaks, you will see part of his comments live here on CNN. This will be first public comments since three New York police officers were overturned.

Let's listen in to Abner Louima.

ABNER LOUIMA: I want to express my disappointment with the recent decision of the United States. First, I want to express my express my disappointment with the recent decision of the United States superior court of appeals. I always have belief in our system of justice, and what that means to me is for justice.

I had hope after all these years I would have been able to go on with my life. Unfortunately, that is not the case.

I will fully cooperate with the prosecutors, federal and state, in any future criminal prosecution with what happened to me. So at the end of the day, full (UNINTELLIGIBLE) I will be available to demonstrate to the world that our system of justice does work.

I am fully aware of the (UNINTELLIGIBLE) to seek justice, and I want to thank the people who have always being there are for me, particularly the Haitian community. I want to thank Reverend Al Sharpton for standing up for me not just today, but every day since this terrible ordeal began, during good and difficult times.

I know his voice is loud and clear for what is right. Also I want to thank my attorneys, Sanford Rubenstein, who is here, Johnnie Cochran, Valley Scheck (ph) and Peter Neufeld for helping me understand the law and complicated decisions that judges make.

In addition, I want to thank the federal prosecutor, particularly Alan Vanwell (ph), who have worked so hard for so long.

Lastly, and most importantly, I thank my family, my friends and, of course, God for giving me the strength to fight for justice as long as it may take.

Thank you.

REV. AL SHARPTON, LOUIMA SPOKESMAN: Before taking questions, attorney Sanford Rubenstein.

SANFORD RUBENSTEIN, LOUIMA'S ATTORNEY: As we speak, there is a bail hearing under way in New York regarding defendant Charles Schwarz. Let me make one thing perfectly clear, if bail is ordered and he walks out of the courthouse, he does not walk out of free man, he walks out as a defendant to face a trial, an indictment handed down by a federal judge in which he was indicted as a participant in one of the most brutal acts of police brutality in the history of this country for which one jury has already convicted him, and possibly to face additional charges in federal or state courts for lying to investigators, lying clearly pointed out in the U.S. court of appeals decision.

The wheels of justice for Abner Louima, the victim, may turn on a road that is bumpy at times, but ultimately, after the bumps are traversed, I am confident that we will arrive at the destination of full justice for Abner Louima.

SHARPTON: Any questions?

We're not going to entertain questions about death threats. Mr. Louima, we are securing him, and we realize that he will probably now will have to be a witness again.

He is not going to testify at his time. He made his statement, because he has to be a witness, we are not going to allow him to go any further than what his lawyers and all of us have counseled him.

I think I answered that, ma'am.

Any other questions.

Thank you.

KAGAN: Listening to a news conference now from Miami, Abner Louima speaking out for the first time since federal appeals court overturned the convictions of three New York City police officers last week. That in relation to the '97 attack, the sodomizing attack on Abner Louima. Today he comes out and expresses his disappointment in that decision.

This legal process is not over by a longshot. One of the officers, as you heard Louima's attorney mention in this case, Charles Schwarz, is actually in federal court this morning for a bond hearing.

Our Deborah Feyerick was watching the proceedings and filed this report.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

DEBORAH FEYERICK, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Schwarz was found guilty of violating Abner Louima's civil rights by holding him down while another officer sodomized him with a broomstick. This is a crime that took place inside a police precinct station house. It is crime that rocked New York City. Now there's always been some question as to who was the second officer. Prosecutors say it is Charles Schwarz, but others linked to this crime say it was a different man.

Now Schwarz has a chance at a new trial. An appeal's court last week finding that he was denied effective assistance of counsel because his lawyer at the time was also representing the PBA, the Policemen Benevolent Association, which was being sued by the victim, Abner Louima.

RONALD FISCHETTI, CHARLES SCHWARZ ATTY.: He's been in solitary now for about 28 months of the 33 months that he was there. As he told me, it really does something to you. So, as he says, it's really hard for him to process it, to realize that he's actually, you know, coming home.

FEYERICK: While this bail hearing is under way, Louima will also be holding a press conference. His supporters say they want to make sure the attention is kept on the real victim.

Deborah Feyerick. CNN, Brooklyn, New York.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

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