Publisher drops Central Park Five prosecutor Linda Fairstein

NEW YORK — Linda Fairstein has been dropped by her publisher as fallout continues for the former Central Park Five prosecutor over the wrongful conviction of five teens for the 1989 rape and beating of a female jogger.

On Friday, Dutton spokeswoman Amanda Walker confirmed a statement that the publisher’s customer service line has been giving to inquiring callers, saying that it had “terminated its relationship” with the bestselling crime novelist. The publicist declined further comment.

Fairstein’s most recent book, “Blood Oath,” came out in March. Her other books, many featuring the sex crimes prosecutor Alex Cooper, include “Deadfall,” ”Killer Look” and “Devil’s Bridge.”

In a statement issued through Laura Rossi Public Relations, Fairstein said Friday that she and Dutton had “decided to terminate their relationship.” The statement also says that “Fairstein is the author of 24 books, including 16 New York Times bestselling crime novels, as well as a nonfiction work that was a New York Times Notable Book of the Year.”

Reached on her cellphone Friday, Fairstein declined further comment.

There has been renewed outcry regarding Fairstein’s role in the racially divisive case following the release last month of Netflix’s “When They See Us,” a miniseries directed by Ava DuVernay that dramatizes the events surrounding the trial.

Fairstein had already resigned from at least two non-profit boards as backlash intensified and a #CancelLindaFairstein movement spread on social media.

Last year, the Mystery Writers of America took the rare step of withdrawing a lifetime achievement after other authors protested, citing Fairstein’s role in the Central Park case.

Fairstein was the top Manhattan sex crimes prosecutor when five black and Latino teenagers were charged with the attack on the white jogger, which became a symbol of the city’s soaring crime in the late 1980s. Donald Trump, then known as a real estate developer, took out full-page newspaper ads calling for the death penalty.

The teens said their confessions were coerced and their convictions were overturned in 2002 after convicted murderer and serial rapist Matias Reyes confessed to committing the crime alone. DNA linked him to it.

Fairstein observed the boys’ 1989 interrogation, conducted by another prosecutor and police. She didn’t personally try the case.

Since its collapse, she has denied the teens were coerced and has defended authorities’ conduct in the case, explored in a 2013 documentary by Ken Burns.

The city reached a roughly $41 million settlement with the five the next year, while not admitting any wrongdoing.

 

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