Letter from Andrew Jarecki and Marc Smerling
We are thrilled to report that Nassau County Supreme Court Judge F. Dana Winslow yesterday ruled that District Attorney Kathleen Rice must turn over to Jesse Friedman's lawyers "every scrap of paper" related to the Friedman case that they have been keeping secret for 26 years. (See below an article from Newsday and a TV piece announcing the victory).
The Judge stated that he had himself read some of the statements police said came from children in the case, and that he found them to be inconsistent and contradictory.
He also took the unusual step of implementing a "no touch" order to prevent the DA from altering, moving, or destroying any of the evidence in her files before it is turned over.
This is a huge victory, strengthened by the Judge's indignance at the fraudulent claims that were included in the DA's recent report on the case.
At one point, the Judge forced the DA to admit that the most salacious of the many false claims in her report -- that while in prison Jesse Friedman wrote pornographic stories about pedophilia -- was absolutely false.
It was a public embarrassment for the DA whose recent report on the Friedman case has been widely attacked as biased by organizations like the National Center for Reason and Justice, experts like the FBI's Kenneth Lanning, and prominent figures like Scott Banks, the law secretary for the original judge in the case, who urged Judge Winslow to expedite the release of these crucial documents in the interest of justice.
The reason these long-withheld documents are so important is that they reveal fundamental contradictions that undermine the validity of the 26 year-old case.
For example, documents show that Detective Larry Merriweather, whom the DA's report relies upon to support the claim that police didn't interrogate children for many hours at a stretch -- a technique shown to lead to false accusations -- himself admitted to having interviewed a child for "7 hours" despite the boy stating he had never been abused.
This kind of coercive questioning technique, along with other techniques the DA now admits were used in the case, have been found to lead to false charges. The documents undermine many of the foundational premises of the DA's so-called "conviction review."
We thank you for your ongoing support for overturning this wrongful conviction.
Andrew Jarecki and Marc Smerling
Director and Producer, “Capturing the Friedmans”