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Central Park Five Prosecutor Calls Out Director

Linda Fairstein says Ava DuVernay's miniseries is filled with 'distortions and falsehoods'
By Newser Editors,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 11, 2019 1:27 PM CDT
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This undated photo provided by Penguin Random House shows Linda Fairstein. The former “Central Park Five” prosecutor Fairstein is condemning how she’s portrayed in the Netflix series “When They See Us."   (Katherine Marks/Penguin Random House via AP)
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(Newser) – The prosecutor in New York City's Central Park Five case has issued a scathing denunciation of director Ava DuVernay's Netflix miniseries about the case. When They See Us is "so full of distortions and falsehoods as to be an outright fabrication," writes Linda Fairstein in a Wall Street Journal op-ed. Fairstein writes that the series has her saying racist things that are completely made up, and she maintains that much of how the series depicts the arrests and questioning of the five accused men is flat-out wrong—specifically that prosecutors deprived them of food, counsel with their parents, and even bathroom breaks. "Never happened," she writes. One of her main complaints is that the series suggests the five are innocent of all charges against them. Fairstein agrees with the vacation of rape charges against them in regard to the female jogger, but that's it.

"The other charges, for crimes against other victims, should not have been vacated," writes Fairstein. Nothing that the man who came forward and confessed to the rape said "exonerated these five of those attacks," she writes. "And there was certainly more than enough evidence to support those convictions of first-degree assault, robbery, riot and other charges." But you wouldn't think that from the series, Fairstein complains. "Ms. DuVernay does not define me, and her film does not speak the truth." The director has not directly responded to Fairstein, though she tweeted, "Expected and typical. Onward..." when a supporter tweeted about the op-ed. (Fairstein, now a crime novelist, has resigned from two posts because of backlash from the movie.)

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