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Abbate Trial (Finally) Gets Underway

By Marcus Gilmer in News on Jun 1, 2009 6:40PM

The case of a Chicago Police officer who was caught on tape beating a Chicago bartender finally gets underway today. 12-year CPD vet Anthony Abbate stands accused in the February 2007 beating of Karolina Obrycka at Jesse's Short Stop Inn, a beating that was caught by the bar's surveillance camera. Abbate allegedly attacked Obrycka after she refused to continue serving him drinks. If this is the first you've heard of the case in a while, it's because the presiding judge, Circuit Judge John J. Fleming, issued a gag order in the case last May. Abbate faces 15 felony counts of aggravated battery in a public place, communication with a witness, intimidation, conspiracy and official misconduct which could add up to five years in jail if convicted

So now that the trial is finally here, what will happen? Chicago Breaking News breaks it down like-so:

The case essentially will come down to two separate issues -- one, the alleged attack of Obrycka, now 26, and the other, an alleged attempt to cover up the beating.

The biggest challenge facing Abbate's lawyer would appear to be the video itself. As music loudly blares in the background at Jesse's Short Stop Inn, a man prosecutors have identified as Abbate throws Obrycka to the floor of the bar, then repeatedly punches and kicks her. At 6-feet-1 and 250 pounds, he towered over the 115-pound woman.

By contrast, proving the alleged coverup could be troublesome for prosecutors. Abbate is charged with enlisting a friend of his who worked at the bar -- identified in court records as Patricia Chiriboga -- to allegedly threaten the bar manager not to release the security video to investigators.

While Abbate is still technically a Chicago Police officer, he's been stripped of any power and has been suspended without pay. Whether or not he is ultimately fired hasn't been determined as his his hearing before the Chicago Police Board is delayed to see the outcome of the criminal trial.