Press Releases & Statements

FROM: Lonnie Soury, Soury Communications, Inc. 917.519.4521, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

For Immediate Release

JESSE FRIEDMAN SEEKS ALL DOCUMENTS RELATED TO HIS PROSECUTION AND REINVESTIGATION IN POSSESSION OF THE NASSAU COUNTY DISTRICT ATTORNEY AND POLICE

Requests List of All Students and Parents in Computer Classes Interviewed by Police and the Records of Psychologists Used by Nassau County

(Mineola, NY- Monday, February 23, 2015) In an effort to obtain a fair review of the evidence in his actual innocence hearing scheduled in Nassau County Court before Judge Teresa Corrigan, Jesse Friedman has asked the court for all documents related to his case in the possession of the police and the Nassau District Attorney. Discovery Motion http://bit.ly/17rWo1u), and Subpoena http://bit.ly/17P3OMi

Friedman has never had the opportunity to review any of the evidence against him, which resulted in hundreds of incredible charges of child sexual abuse. It was only revealed years later that police had used tactics that elicited false accusations. The only evidence in his case was child testimony, no physical evidence existed. Moreover, the DA even conceded that the techniques used to elicit that testimony were “unprofessional, unfair, and cruel.”

Police interviewed over one hundred students and parents of students in the computer classes, but only a handful allegedly made statements that were used to prosecute Friedman. Many parents and former students have come forth to say that nothing happened in the computer classes in the Friedman home and that they told that to police investigators at the time.

The Discovery Motion and Subpoena also requests all documents and records related to the use of any psychologists by Nassau County related to the Friedman prosecution or that of Ross Goldstein, including notes on the use of hypnosis.

Ron Kuby, Friedman’s attorney, said, “The only way to begin to uncover what led to Jesse Friedman’s wrongful conviction is full discovery and an open and transparent review of the evidence. We already know that there were never any complaints by computer students prior to the police interviews, and that these children were subjected to hours and hours of interrogation with one student visited fifteen separate times. What transpired in those interrogations, the police interview notes and all the other evidence that exists, written, recorded and collected needs to be turned over to the defense.”

According to the Discovery Motion filed today, “The documents in question in this motion were created between 1987 and today. In that time, only one person outside of the Nassau County District Attorney’s Office has viewed them. That person, Judge F. Dana Winslow of the Nassau County Supreme Court, found them to contain exculpatory evidence and to be riddled with inconsistencies.”

In August 2013, after reviewing Friedman case files himself and holding multiple hearings on the issue, Nassau County Supreme Court Justice F. Dana cited the exculpatory nature of the materials withheld from Friedman, and ordered the disclosure of “every piece of paper” with Friedman’s name on it.

He discovered that the District Attorney had withheld thousands of pages of materials, including all of the original witness statements and investigative materials demonstrating police misconduct, from an Advisory Panel charged with overseeing the DA’s Friedman case review.

“The Nassau County Police Department seized the class rosters, computers, and other evidence related to the Friedman family computer classes in November of 1987. Almost immediately, they began their interviews of scores, even hundreds, of computer class students. Since that time, they have characterized that evidence, made numerous accusations based on it in formal indictments, the 2013 Conviction Integrity Report (the “Rice Report”), and ancillary court proceedings. They have also steadfastly refused access to outside eyes. The first denial came in 1988. Friedman’s then attorney, Robert Krieger, made a broad request in April of that year for numerous documents, including that evidence available under Brady v. Maryland. The DA’s office replied not just by denying the request, but denying the existence of any Brady material. Repeated requests would meet the same result. Such denials led in part to Friedman’s 1989 guilty plea.”

Jesse Friedman said, “I am innocent. Nothing ever happened in those computer classes in my home in Great neck. The police coerced false statements from children as young as eight-years-old and wrongfully prosecuted me. I spent 13 years in prison and the next 14 years virtually imprisoned. It is time for justice in my case.”

Background

In 1988, in the midst of a national hysteria regarding false allegations of child sexual abuse in schools and day care centers (epitomized by the now-overturned McMartin Preschool case), police alleged that Jesse Friedman, his father Arnold, and three other teenagers had violently abused hundreds of children attending after-school computer classes at the Friedmans' Great Neck home, though over a period of five years, no child or parent had ever complained, and no medical or physical evidence was ever produced.

Eighteen year-old Jesse Friedman, then a freshman studying music and psychology at SUNY Purchase, was charged with 243 counts of child sexual abuse, and forced to plead guilty after being threatened with life in prison by Judge Abigail Boklan who, despite having heard no evidence in the case, was convinced of Jesse Friedman’s guilt. Friedman served 13 years in maximum-security prisons and remains branded as a Level III “violent sexual predator.”

After Friedman fought for decades to clear his name, in 2010 the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit issued an extraordinary opinion, concluding that there was a reasonable likelihood Jesse Friedman was wrongfully convicted.”

Part of the mountain of new evidence discovered or brought forward by Friedman’s legal team, is a complete recantation from Ross Goldstein, the prosecution’s only adult witness, and more than twenty-five statements from eyewitnesses to the computer classes stating that no abuse occurred – despite prosecution claims that children were raped in “plain view” of the entire class.Goldstein, who was charged with 118 counts of sexual abuse of children, now says that:

“…Every single thing found in my testimony was untrue and said by me at the time to avoid a trial. I never saw Jesse or Arnold Friedman abuse any children, nor did I ever sexually abuse any children.”

I did not witness Jesse or anyone else commit any crimes in the Friedman home with any computer student. My testimony before the grand jury was a result of tremendous and unrelenting pressure and intimidation by the police and district attorney’s office in which I was eventually coerced to lie about crimes taking place in order to try to save myself and be granted the YO status deal that was being offered to me.”

Barry Scheck, the most prominent member of District Attorney Kathleen Rice’s “Friedman Case Advisory Panel” and co-founder of The Innocence Project, submitted an affidavit with Judge Corrigan asking the Court to undertake a “full evidentiary hearing” and release to Friedman’s lawyers the original case files that have been kept secret by the DA for over 27 years.

In Scheck’s words: “I believe it would be desirable for the court and the parties, utilizing whatever procedural mechanisms the court deems suitable, to review materials not available to the Advisory Panel, such as grand jury minutes, the original case file, and the results of the re-investigation to aid in finally resolving, to the extent possible the issue of Jesse Friedman’s guilt or innocence.”

Scheck joins a chorus of other respected voices in criminal justice in requesting the disclosure of these files, including N. Scott Banks, the former law secretary for the Judge who convicted Jesse. Banks wrote a letter requesting that Nassau County Supreme Court Justice Winslow “grant Mr. Friedman’s application, and direct the District Attorney to disclose this extremely relevant evidence to his attorneys and provide a level of transparency very much needed in this matter.” Banks felt that grand jury testimony in the case was equally suspect as he was one of the few people to have read the grand jury minutes: “The grand jury testimony of child witnesses, largely elicited with leading questions by the prosecutor, demanding ‘yes or no’ responses, provided absolutely no detail.”

For more information about Jesse Friedman’s wrongful conviction, go to www.freejesse.net.