“a series so full of distortions and falsehoods as to be an outright fabrication”
As we pointed out recently, Linda Fairstein, the New York City sex crimes prosecutor who handled the famous ‘Central Park Five’ case, has been subjected to a purge after the premiere of a new Netflix program on the subject.
She claims the program has distorted the truth and maligned her unfairly. Now she is speaking out in her own defense. She wrote at the Wall Street Journal:
Netflix’s False Story of the Central Park Five
At about 9 p.m. April 19, 1989, a large group of young men gathered on the corner of 110th Street and Fifth Avenue for the purpose of robbing and beating innocent people in Central Park. There were more than 30 rioters, and the woman known as the “Central Park jogger,” Trisha Meili, was not their only victim. Eight others were attacked, including two men who were beaten so savagely that they required hospitalization for head injuries.
Reporters and filmmakers have explored this story countless times from numerous perspectives, almost always focusing on five attackers and one female jogger. But each has missed the larger picture of that terrible night: a riot in the dark that resulted in the apprehension of more than 15 teenagers who set upon multiple victims.
That a sociopath named Matias Reyes confessed in 2002 to the rape of Ms. Meili, and that the district attorney consequently vacated the charges against the five after they had served their sentences, has led some of these reporters and filmmakers to assume the prosecution had no basis on which to charge the five suspects in 1989. So it is with filmmaker Ava DuVernay in the Netflix miniseries “When They See Us,” a series so full of distortions and falsehoods as to be an outright fabrication.
It shouldn’t have been hard for Ms. DuVernay to discover the truth. The facts of the original case are documented in a 117-page decision by New York State Supreme Court Justice Thomas Galligan, in sworn testimony given in two trials and affirmed by two appellate courts, and in sworn depositions of more than 95 witnesses—including the five themselves. Instead she has written an utterly false narrative involving an evil mastermind (me) and the falsely accused (the five).
Fairstein points to specific examples of where the program gets it wrong:
Consider the film’s most egregious falsehoods. “When They See Us” repeatedly portrays the suspects as being held without food, deprived of their parents’ company and advice, and not even allowed to use the bathroom. If that had been true, surely they would have brought those issues up and prevailed in pretrial hearings on the voluntariness of their statements, as well as in their lawsuit against the city. They didn’t, because it never happened.
The attacks on Fairstein have not just been on her character. Her ability to make a living has also been dragged into it.
Jordan Moreau reports at Variety:
Central Park Five Prosecutor Dropped by Longtime Book Publisher
The Central Park Five prosecutor Linda Fairstein has been dropped by her book publisher following the release of Ava DuVernay’s “When They See Us” miniseries, her spokesperson confirmed to the AP on Friday.
The former prosecutor began publishing novels in the mid ’90s, several years after she oversaw the wrongful conviction of five teens of color for the rape of a Central Park jogger. She has authored more than 20 best-selling crime novels, and her most recent book, “Blood Oath,” was published in March. Fairstein also won the International Thriller Writers Silver Bullet Award in 2010 and the Nero Wolfe Award for Excellence in Crime Writing in 2008.
More than 125,000 people have signed an online petition at Change.org calling for retailers to stop selling Fairstein’s books, and the hashtag #CancelLindaFairstein has been gaining popularity on Twitter.
Some people are even calling for her old cases to be reopened.
Carmen Perez writes at Common Dreams:
Reopen Linda Fairstein’s Cases and Hold New York’s Criminal Justice System Accountable
Like many of you, I was greatly impacted by Ava Duvernay’s essential documentary When They See Us, which premiered on Netflix this week. Ava’s film excavates the truth surrounding how five Black and Latino men were wrongly convicted for an attack on a jogger in 1989, resulting in prison sentences that lasted as long as thirteen years. It has sparked a much-needed conversation, popping up in people’s everyday lives, in a doctor’s office, at the hair salon, around the dinner table.
The significance of this particular case is much broader than the miscarriage of justice that was inflicted on these five men: Kevin Richardson, Antron McCray, Raymond Santana Jr., Korey Wise and Yusef Salaam. We need to know their names, and understand what was done to them, to understand what happens and has happened to millions of black and brown people in America…
We must reopen Linda Fairstein’s old cases, which is the goal of the #CancelLindaFairstein campaign started by my team of activists at The Gathering for Justice and Justice League NYC. We must hold her accountable to any bias that showed up in other cases. But we also have to spend meaningful energy on holding the system accountable, because the problem is certainly much bigger. The system is set up to incentivize incarceration.
The social justice mob has become emboldened in recent years.
They now seem intent on destroying people’s lives simply because they believe they can.DONATE
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