Central Park Five Prosecutor Says She Did Nothing Wrong, Takes No Responsibility

when they see us linda fairstein

Former prosecutor Linda Fairstein has been facing a significant backlash after the release of Netflix’s When They See Us — and for good reason.

Fairstein is responsible for putting five innocent young boys behind bars.

She was in charge of the malicious campaign against the boys and, despite the lack of evidence, the coerced confessions, and the unclear timeline, she ensured that the boys were put behind bars.

But even with their exoneration, Fairstein has never owned up to what she did, apologized, or even admitted wrongdoing.

The prosecutor-turned-author spoke with The Daily Beast and had the audacity to claim *herself* as the victim in all of this.

Left: Linda Fairstein; Right: Felicity Huffman as Fairstein in When They See Us

She said When They See Us is “a totally and completely untrue picture of events and my participation” and that it put “words in my mouth that I never said in Oliver Stone fashion.”

She added that the whole thing was “a basket of lies.”

She even went so far as to attack Director Ava DuVernay and said,

“She’s behind it. Her lies are behind it all.”

All five of the boys were exonerated after one of them, Korey Wise, met serial rapist Matias Reyes while in prison. Reyes admitted to raping the victim Trisha Meili and DNA evidence later supported his confession.

And yet, Fairstein continued to claim that the central park five were involved.

After Reyes’ confession in 2002, Fairstein told The New Yorker,

“I think Reyes ran with that pack of kids. He stayed longer when the others moved on. He completed the assault. I don’t think there is a question in the minds of anyone present during the interrogation process that these five men were participants, not only in the other attacks that night but in the attack on the jogger.”

central park five linda fairstein
Felicity Huffman as Fairstein in When They See Us

It’s worth noting that with the exception of Yusef Salaam and Korey Wise, none of the other boys even knew each other at the time let alone “ran in a pack” together.

Fairstein has continued to stand by her prosecution of the central park five as recently as last year.

In July 2018, Fairstein wrote a letter to the editor of the New York Law Journal defending herself and the vicious interrogation tactics of the police.

She wrote,

“The confessions were not coerced… The questioning was respectful, dignified, carried out according to the letter of the law and with sensitivity to the young age of the men.”

(We know from all five of the boys’ accounts that this is far from accurate and that brutal techniques were used to get the boys to confess.)

She proceeded to write that she should bear no blame because it was the jury who chose to convict the boys.

Fairstein’s words and actions have been extremely disturbing — both in 1989 and in the present day. They say hindsight is 20/20 but even now, Fairstein can’t, or won’t, see the horrible role she played in forever scarring those boys.


‘When They See Us’: Everything You Need to Know About the Central Park Five

Lena Finkel
Lena Finkel is the Editor and Founder of Femestella. Prior to starting Femestella, she worked at People, InStyle, Tiger Beat, and Sesame Workshop (aka Sesame Street). She loves all things Real Housewives and Vanderpump Rules. When she's not busy binge-watching TV, you can find her hanging out with her tuxedo cat Tom.