Film spurs rage vs. ADA
- By LARRY CELONA
- Last Updated: 4:05 AM, April 29, 2013
- Posted: 2:01 AM, April 29, 2013
A Manhattan prosecutor who led the charge against five men accused of raping a Central Park jogger nearly 25 years ago is receiving death threats in the wake of a new documentary that chronicles their wrongful conviction.
The NYPD and the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office are investigating more than a dozen phone and e-mail threats against Assistant District Attorney Elizabeth Lederer, who successfully helped prosecute the five then-teens in 1989, law-enforcement sources told The Post.
The men were eventually exonerated in 2002 — a stunning reversal chronicled in the Ken Burns documentary “The Central Park Five,” which first aired on PBS on April 16.
Officials gave no details about the threats against Lederer, but sources said investigators linked them to the Central Park case because of their content and the timing.
The documentary includes footage of Lederer, 60, questioning the suspects, who later said their confessions were coerced by detectives.
The threats coincide with protests and a petition against Lederer at Columbia University’s law school, where students are trying to get the ADA booted from her post as an adjunct law professor.
Her biography on the school’s Web site appears to have been scrubbed to delete any reference to her involvement in the controversial case.
Lederer has received e-mails both at the school and at the DA’s office, a source said.
“I have nothing to say about this,” Lederer told The Post when asked about the threats yesterday.
“Call [the city’s] Corporation Counsel. I’m not allowed to talk about this case.”
Five black and Hispanic teenagers — Antron McCray, Kevin Richardson, Yusef Salaam, Raymond Santana and Korey Wise — were convicted of the brutal ’89 beating and rape of investment banker Trisha Meili near the park’s reservoir.
But in 2002, a judge granted a motion to vacate the 13-year-old convictions after a serial rapist already in jail confessed to the crime, an admission backed up by a positive DNA match.
A year later, Richardson, Santana and McCray sued the city.
The city has refused to settle the suits, citing the “confessions that withstood intense scrutiny.”
Lederer was recently deposed in the civil case.