The prosecutor who tried the 1990 Central Park Five case has resigned from her teaching position at Columbia Law School amid backlash recently reignited following the debut of Ava DuVernay’s Netflix series “When They See Us.”
District attorney Elizabeth Lederer, portrayed in the miniseries by actress Vera Farmiga, had been asked to resign before, according to the Washington Post.
A 2013 Ken Burns documentary on the case led to a 5,000-signature petition, but eventually went nowhere.
But “given the nature of the recent publicity,” Lederer, who still works for the D.A.’s office in Manhattan, told the law school she won’t be seeking reappointment as a part-time lecturer.
A letter from Columbia’s Black Law Students Association, which was shared online this week, criticized the school’s leadership for “inaction” on earlier calls for her removal.
Antron McCray, Kevin Richardson, Yusef Salaam, Raymond Santana and Korey Wise—known as the Central Park Five—were exonerated in 2002 after being charged with the 1989 rape of a white woman in New York's Central Park.
Their convictions were overturned in 2002 after convicted murderer and serial rapist Matias Reyes confessed to committing the crime alone, and DNA linked him to it.
Another sex crimes prosecutor involved in the case, Linda Fairstein, has resigned from boards of several nonprofit groups and of Vassar College amid the furor. The prosecutor-turned-novelist was also dropped by her publisher last week.
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