Prosecutor Linda Fairstein Condemns Netflix Central Park Five Series

Author Linda Fairstein appears on NBC News

Author Linda Fairstein appears on NBC News"Today show

In 2003, the Central Park Five sued the City of NY, claiming that Fairstein had helped engineer false confessions from the boys (who were between the ages of 14-16 at the time) after 30 straight hours of interrogation.

Antron McCray, Yusef Salaam, Korey Wise, Raymond Santana, and Kevin Richardson eventually received a $41 million settlement from the city of NY in 2014. Finally, the publishing imprint Dutton dropped her from its roster. "Ms. DuVernay's film attempts to portray me as an overzealous prosecutor and a bigot, the police as incompetent or worse, and the five suspects as innocent of all charges against them". "Eight others were attacked, including two men who were beaten so savagely that they required hospitalization for head injuries", her article read.

The four-part series was written and directed by Ava DuVernay, the director of the movies A Wrinkle in Time and Selma, who responded to Fairstein's op-ed on Twitter, writing: "Expected and typical".

She also claims the film's "most egregious falsehoods" were the ways in which the teens were treated while in custody.

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Fairstein also expresses her frustration that "some of these reporters and filmmakers ... assume the prosecution had no basis on which to charge the five suspects in 1989". Those convictions were vacated in 2002.

Asked about Fairstein at a Netflix event on Sunday, DuVernay said, "It's important that people be held accountable". She wrote, "There is, for example, the African-American woman who testified at the trial-and again during the 2002 re-investigation-that when Korey Wise called her brother, he told her that he had held the jogger down and felt her breasts while others attacked her". She is part of a system that is not broken, it was built to be this way. Fairstein has denied the teens were coerced into confessing, and stands by her belief they should not have been completely exonerated.

It is a depiction Fairstein today took extreme umbrage with in a WSJ op-ed late yesterday. "They didn't, because it never happened". In a 2016 essay, Salaam wrote: "When we were arrested, the police deprived us of food, drink or sleep for more than 24 hours". Instead, she transitioned into a new role in the private sector as an acclaimed author of a mystery novel series featuring plucky NY prosecutor Alexandra Cooper. "But the other charges, for crimes against other victims, should not have been vacated". As Fairstein has it, Matias Reyes may have committed the actual rape but "the five were charged as accomplices, as persons "acting in concert" with each other and with the then-unknown man who raped the jogger, not as those who actually performed the act", meaning they might have contributed to the act in spirit?

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