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Central Park Five prosecutor dropped by publisher

CENTRAL PARK FIVE: From left to right, Raymond Santana Jr, Kevin Richardson, Korey Wise, director Ava Duvernay, Antron Mccray, and Yusef Salaam at the When They See Us world premiere

A FORMER US prosecutor who played a part in the wrongful conviction of the Central Park Five has been dropped by her publisher.

Linda Fairstein, who is now a crime novelist, was let go by Dutton, an imprint of Penguin Random House, after fresh outrage over her involvement in the case of five teenagers who were wrongly convicted a jailed for rape in 1989.

The teenagers’ harrowing story is the subject of a recently released Netflix series, When They See Us, directed by Ava DuVernay.

The group of black and Hispanic teenagers – Raymond Santana, Kevin Richardson, Antron McCray, Yusef Salaam and Korey Wise - who were aged between 14 and 16 at the time – were arrested and questioned for hours without their lawyers or parents being present.

DNA samples found on and close to the victim did not match any of the accused and they were exonerated in 2002 after Mathias Reyes, a convicted serial rapist and murderer, confessed to the crime. DNA evidence confirmed he was at the scene.

Fairstein, 72, was an experienced Manhattan sexual offences prosecutor when the teenagers were charged with the rape of a 28-year-old investment banker.

The victim, who was jogging when she was attacked, was beaten, raped and left for dead. She did not have any recollection of the attack.

Dutton publicity director Amanda Walker told the BBC: "I can confirm that Linda Fairstein and Dutton have decided to terminate their relationship. We have no further comment.”

Responding to the series in an opinion piece in the Wall Street Journal, Fairstein said that the series potrays her as “a bigot, the police as incompetent or worse, and the five suspects as innocent of all charges against them" and she said that “none of this is true”.

As well as being dropped by the publisher, Fairstein, who has written 20 novels since the 1990s, is also understood to have resigned from at least two charitable boards.

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