Officer faces new charges in videotaped beating of bartender
April 27, 2007 (WLS) -- New charges were filed Friday against the Chicago police officer accused in the videotaped beating of a bartender. The 14 additional charges may fuel a threatened lawsuit that could cost Chicago taxpayers millions of dollars. Anthony Abbate was originally charged with aggravated battery in the February attack.
Abbate went to court to face one charge Friday. He left facing 14 more felony charges. The charges are spelled out in a sealed indictment. They are connected to what allegedly happened after the beating.
Suspended cop Anthony Abbate passed through the same criminal court security as all civilian defendants Friday, a sharp contrast to the last time when he had escorts and entered through private doors.
In court Friday, prosecutor David Navarro announced a grand jury had indicted Abbate, information that had leaked to ABC7 and other media outlets Thursday night.
"It's wrong to learn from media outlets my clients has been indicted and the law requires that be done in open court," said Peter Hickey, Abbate's attorney.
Prosecutors announced 14 additional charges, seven counts of official misconduct, one count of communicating with a witness, three counts of intimidation and three counts of conspiracy. These charges stem from this alleged videotaped beating of a bar tender in February.
The bartender's attorney says the new charges involve alleged attempts by Abbate and others to bribe or threaten the bartender. He says those attempts were caught on videotape, too.
The official misconduct charge will be a key factor in the lawsuit that is expected to be filed against the city.
"It demonstrates that Abatte, subsequent to the incident, was using police powers to intimidate these people and permits him to sue the city of Chicago," Ekl said.
Prosecutors did not indicate in court if others who allegedly conspired with Abbate would be indicted.
"It's likely that the D.A.'s office has decided to use the people with whom he conspired as witnesses in the case, as opposed to making them defendants," said Ekl.
Ekl says he is planning on filing the bartender's lawsuit in federal court on Monday.
Abbate's next court appearance is scheduled for May 16. At that time the indictment will be unsealed.
Chicago Police Superintendents Phil Cline has said Abbate has tarnished the department's image more than anyone else in the history of the department.
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