Press Releases & Statements

Press Release: September 20, 2013

FROM: Lonnie Soury, Soury Communications, Inc. 212.414.5857, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


For Immediate Release

Jesse Friedman Files Notice of Intent to Sue Nassau County DA Kathleen Rice for Defamation

Rice Published False Materials to Media about Jesse Friedman and Misled Advisory Panel

Rice's Report summarizing her review of Friedman's 1988 conviction and the accompanying press release, included dozens of false statements, including false claim that Friedman wrote horrific pornography while in prison, and a false psychological evaluation by a discredited psychologist

(Mineola, NY, Friday, September 20, 2013) Jesse Friedman, who was wrongfully convicted for child sexual abuse in a mass hysteria case in 1988 (brought to light by the Oscar-nominated documentary Capturing the Friedmans), today filed a Notice of Claim, the legally required first step in filing a defamation suit against Nassau County District Attorney Kathleen Rice for false and defamatory statements contained in her June 2013 review of Friedman's conviction. The report including these demonstrably false claims was widely distributed to the public and leaked to the tabloid media by her office.

According to the Notice of Claim and Notice of Intention to File an Action, served on the Nassau County District Attorney on Friday, September 20, 2013:

"This claim arises from the acts or omissions of the defendants, and alleges multiple false and defamatory statements that were designed to, and did, harm Friedman....These acts and omissions include publishing statements that Friedman was punished while in prison for writing and distributing horrific pornography that described acts similar to those for which Friedman was convicted, and statements alleging that Friedman was a psychopath. These statements were false and defamatory statements of material fact, and Rice and her agents knew, or it is highly likely that they knew, that these statements were false. The purpose of such statements, as noted by the Hon. Justice F. Dana Winslow, J.S.C., was to portray Friedman publicly as a 'bad guy.'"

The DA's report falsely states that Jesse Friedman "wrote" and "penned" vicious pornography while in prison and provides as proof a printout of a series of shocking pornographic stories. A standard Google search of any of the text attributed to Jesse Friedman reveals instantly that it is material available on the internet, written by and credited to someone else, whose email address appears at the bottom with an invitation to contact her. As the DA is well aware, while Jesse Friedman was incarcerated at Coxsackie Correctional Facility (a maximum security prison), he had no access to the internet for downloading such stories, nor did he have an email address. Jesse Friedman did not "write," "pen," "possess," nor "distribute" this material.

However, even after being informed of the inaccuracy of the DA's damaging claim, shortly after the release of her Report, her public information officer John Byrne emailed a copy of the stories to the tabloid media, including the New York Post and other media outlets, where the stories were widely published.

The release of these materials continues a pattern of misrepresentation by DA Kathleen Rice reflected throughout her investigation and report that exacerbates the damage done to Jesse's life and reputation since his wrongful conviction 26 years ago.
According to Friedman's attorney, Ronald L. Kuby, "The DA falsely accused Jesse of having written horrific pornography celebrating the very kinds of crimes of which he had been accused. And she timed the false claims so they appeared in the press at a time when th ey would have the greatest negative impact on Jesse – while all eyes in Long Island and elsewhere were watching for the DA's three-year-delayed verdict in her so-called "unbiased review" of the Jesse Friedman case. The fact that they also showed these false materials to the members of a panel charged with overseeing the DA's investigation, reveals the DA's desire to undermine any fair re-evaluation of this case."

The Notice of Claim states:

"In the Executive Summary to the report, Rice made the following materially false statements about Friedman and his prison discip linary record:

"He also was punished for writing and distributing 'fictional' stories that described violent and disturbing sexual acts, including incest, bestiality, and child rape."

In the main body of the Rice report, Rice made the following materially false statements about Friedman:

"In July 2000, just a few months later, Jesse again faced disciplinary action for writing and distributing three stories depicting lurid, violent, and disturbing sexual acts, including bestiality (forcing a woman to have sex with a dog), child incest, and rape. All three stories are overlaid with strong overtones of sadism and control, with sexual pleasure secondary to dominance or revenge. In one story, Jesse describes an incestuous relationship between three children—two girls and one boy—that their father discovers, and then gleefully joins [footnote citing an Inmate Misbehavior Report dated July 13 , 2000, omitted]. That story ends with a caveat penned by Jesse:

Note: Please DO NOT use this story as a reason to practice incest, or especially incest with minors! It could get you arrested! However, if you have any questions, comments, or suggestions.

Further, DA Rice also published and quoted from the work of a then-novice psychologist, David Pogge, (falsely identifying him as a "renowned psychiatrist,") that contained a series of unsubstantiated personal attacks on Friedman. Friedman's attorneys had already informed Rice that Pogge had a disqualifying conflict of interest and should not have been examining Friedman in the first place, and that Pogge's evaluation was unreliable and was based on an improper test that he interpreted in an improper manner. With full knowledge that the information contained therein was false, Rice made additional materially false and defamatory statements in her Rep ort and Executive Summary, publicizing the false evaluation of Dr. David Pogge in which he purported to "find" that Friedman was a:
"psychopathic deviant," "a psychopath," "self-centered, manipulative, egocentric," someone who "abused drugs," "extremely egocentric," "capable of breaking the law," "narcissistic, antisocial, passive-aggressive, badly behaved," "a very heavy drug user" and "drug dependent," "pansexual," someone whose "personality was consistent with someone who was capable of committing the crimes with which he was charged," "someone who believed he was better than other people," someone who "lies all the time, and derives gratification from fooling others," and was "not a good citizen."

These statements were repeated, in shorter form, in the Press Release issued by Rice's office.

Three months prior to Rice's publication of said statements, On March 5, 2013, Mr. Kuby wrote to Madeline Singas, Chief Assistant District Attorney for Nassau County, the leader of DA Rice's review team. In the letter, Mr. Kuby informed Singas that he understood the review team had consulted Dr. David Pogge regarding a psychological evaluation Dr. Pogge performed prior to Friedman's trial. Mr. Kuby informed Singas that at the time Jesse's lawyer had approached Dr. Pogge as a defense consultant, Pogge had a disqualifying, unethical, and undisclosed conflict of interest in that he was also part of the North Shore University Hospital "Crisis Program" assigned to work with Friedman's alleged victims.

Mr. Kuby, in the same March 15, 201 3 letter to Singas, informed Rice that Friedman had retained internationally-known expert Dr. Richard Bohn Krueger, MD (professor of psychiatry at Columbia and Medical Director of the Sexual Behavior Clinic, New York State Psychiatric Institute) to evaluate Dr. Pogge's assessment of Friedman. Dr. Krueger explained that the test Dr. Pogge administered to Friedman should never have been administered to a person who maintained that he was innocent of sexual abuse charges, and that this was specifically stated in the instructions printed on the test. He further stated that Dr. Pogge's report was a generic computer-generated report based on faulty input.

Despite having been informed in writing of Dr. Pogge's conflict of interest and his mishandling of Friedman's evaluation, Rice used Dr. Pogge 's discredited evaluation as a pretext to further defame Friedman.

The Notice of Claim does not specify any dollar amount of monetary damages. Attorney Ron Kuby stated: This lawsuit is not about money. It is about holding prosecutors accountable for their misconduct." Jesse Friedman has committed that any proceeds awarded in the defamation suit, net of direct legal expenses, will be donated to designated 501c3 wrongful conviction charities.

Background

In 2010, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit issued a scathing opinion, denouncing the Nassau County District Attorney's handling of the Jesse Friedman prosecution, stating it was "reasonably likely" Friedman was wrongfully conv icted and his guilty plea was coerced by a biased judge. The Court stated that the case should be re-evaluated, and the Nassau County DA Kathleen Rice volunteered – against complaints that having a district attorney's office evaluate a conviction procured by her own office – to initiate a full and "unbiased" review of the case.

Three years later, the DA issued a report that has been widely seen as a severely biased effort to reaffirm Friedman's original conviction 26 years ago.

For more information about Jesse Friedman's wrongful conviction, go to www.freejesse.net. If you have information pertinent to the investigation, please call the confidential tip line at 516-660-4385

Lonnie Soury
Soury Communications, Inc.
150 West 25th Street
New York, NY 1000 1
(212) 414.5857 - office
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