updated 11/3/2006 11:39:27 PM ET 2006-11-04T04:39:27

Two Milwaukee police officers accused in the beating of a man outside a party at an officer’s house two years ago pleaded guilty Friday to federal charges, while three former officers pleaded not guilty and will go to trial.

Joseph Schabel, 35, who resigned from the force Friday, and former officer Jon Clausing, 29, pleaded guilty in the beating of Frank Jude Jr.

Jude, 28, said he had been at the party on Oct. 24, 2004, when a group of white men who identified themselves as off-duty officers kicked and punched him, put a knife to his throat and jammed a pen in his ears as he begged for mercy.

The men accused him of stealing a police badge, but no badge was found and Jude was not charged with theft.

Schabel pleaded guilty Friday to deprivation of Jude’s civil rights and use of intimidation. Clausing, a former Milwaukee police officer, pleaded guilty to conspiring with other off-duty officers to violate the civil rights of Jude and another man, Lovell Harris, by assaulting them at the party, court documents show.

Schabel faces up to 20 years in prison and Clausing faces up to 10 years in prison at sentencing May 11.

‘The beginning of the end’
Jude’s attorney, Jonathan Safran, said that Jude was pleased with the guilty pleas, but that his client knows the two-year-old case won’t be over soon. “He sees this as the beginning of the end,” Safran said.

Schabel and Clausing were among eight officers and former officers charged in the case.

Later Friday, three former officers — Jon Bartlett, 34, Andrew Spengler, 27, and Daniel Masarik, 26 — pleaded not guilty to conspiring to deprive Jude of his civil rights and of violating his rights by beating him.

The three had been acquitted of most state charges by an all-white jury in April. Afterward, federal officials said they would consider pursuing civil rights charges.

Masarik’s attorney, Jonathan Smith, said all three defendants were upset about facing federal charges.

“It’s troubling and it’s frightening for everyone because the stakes are very high,” Smith said.

Said Bartlett’s attorney, Bridget Boyle: “Right now we’re ready, willing and able to fight it,” Boyle said.

Spengler’s lawyer, Michael Hart, had no comment.

A trial for the three is expected to begin by Feb. 1, U.S. Magistrate Patricia Gorence said. If convicted, they could face up to 20 years in prison and a $500,000 fine.

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