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Legal observers say a civil trial in Chicago focused on an alleged police department code dictating officers protect fellow officers accused of wrongdoing could be precedent-setting.

The trial entered its second day Tuesday. It stems from a lawsuit filed by a female bartender beaten by off-duty officer Anthony Abbate (ah-BAHT'-ee) in 2007. It names him and the city.

Chicago-based defense attorney Kathleen Zellner says a finding against the city could help her and other lawyers with clients alleging police abuse win their cases.

She says a victory for the city could further embolden police.

But Zellner predicts the city will lose - and lose big.

City attorneys say there's no evidence of such a code. And they've said police have a track record of promptly investigating allegations of officer misconduct.

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