She's written best-selling crime novels, like Blood Oath and Death Dance, about a hard-nosed, tender-hearted Assistant DA Alexandra Cooper who eats in a lot of New York's classiest Italian restaurants on a public servant's salary.

Now there's a mystery.

There are now calls to boycott Linda Fairstein's books. She's resigned from several foundation boards. And just yesterday, her publisher dropped her.

Ava DuVernay's Netflix series, When They See Us, has premiered. It's about Korey Wise, Kevin Richardson, Raymond Santana, Antron McCray and Yusef Salaam; five black and Latino teenagers who were wrongly convicted of a brutal rape and beating of a woman in Central Park in 1989 when Linda Fairstein ran the sex crimes unit.

The young men said their confessions were coerced. DNA evidence always pointed to another perpetrator, not the teens, who became known as the Central Park 5.

An imprisoned rapist named Matias Reyes confessed in 2002 to being the actual Central Park criminal. But, the young men spent a collective 40 years in prison before their convictions were voided while Matias Reyes went on to assault and rape more women and murder one — who was pregnant at the time.

Ava DuVernay's series shows Linda Fairstein refusing to follow other leads, and saying lines like, "Every young black male who was in the park last night is a suspect."

The real Linda Fairstein calls the portrayal of her "grossly and maliciously inaccurate" in resignation letters and says case files and public records will confirm she acted responsibly.

DuVernay says Fairstein refused to meet with her unless she could approve the scripts of her series. Linda Fairstein's attorney says that is not true.

Daniel R. Alonso, who served with Fairstein at the district attorney's office, said wrongful conviction is "a terrible, terrible thing", but reminds people how Linda Fairstein has dauntlessly prosecuted rapists, and worked to change laws to help the victims of sexual crimes.

He told The New York Times, "I think it's terrible to 'cancel' someone's entire career over one matter."

Prosecutors have demanding, complicated, stressful jobs. But if that "one matter" was your life, what would you think?

Copyright 2019 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Original Source

Northern California
Public Media Newsletter

Get the latest updates on programs and events.