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Manhattan District Attorney Robert M. Morgenthau on Thursday called for the dismissal of every conviction against the five men implicated in the Central Park jogger attack, saying he had been persuaded by new DNA evidence and a reliable confession from the true assailant. Morgenthau’s assertion came as a response to motions made by the men, who claim they are innocent of the April 1989 rape and beating that remains one of the most shocking crimes in New York City’s recent history. The five men, who were all teen-agers at the time, confessed to the crime, four of them while being videotaped. Attorneys for the men claim that their clients are victims of police misconduct and that their confessions were coerced. Earlier this year, a convicted rapist and murderer, Matais Reyes, admitted to beating and raping the 28-year-old jogger, who survived despite losing 75 percent of her blood after being left for dead in the northern part of the park. DNA tests of Reyes’ semen have linked him to the assault, and no forensic evidence exists that places the men at the scene of the attack. In a statement, Morgenthau’s office said: “The newly discovered evidence creates a probability that if that evidence had been available at trial, the verdicts would have been more favorable to the defendants.” The court papers add that “under the extraordinary circumstances presented by this case,” the district attorney was “constrained” to call for the dismissal of all other charges stemming from a series of “wilding” attacks on bicycle riders and joggers that evening, even though four of the men had not set forth a legal basis for such an action. “Under the circumstances, no purpose would be served by a retrial on any of the charges,” the papers said. The men were convicted of the rape and various assault and rioting charges in two trials by two juries. Four of them appealed, and their convictions were upheld by New York appellate courts. All five defendants have finished serving terms of seven to 13 years in prison. The district attorney’s papers did not cite misconduct by the police department or his own office in connection with the investigation and trial, but they clearly rebutted theories that the teen-agers took any part in the rape, either before or after Reyes arrived at the scene. They also described in detail the weaknesses of the men’s confessions, most of which were apparent when they were being prosecuted. None of the defendants admitted to the rape, though they said they had participated in the attack, and none of them accurately described the attack or where it took place. Eric Seiff, an attorney for defendant Kharey Wise, called the district attorney’s response “remarkably thorough and detailed.” “You couldn’t ask for more,” he said. “It’s unfortunate that it wasn’t done 13 years ago.” Seiff said the defense attorneys for the five men — Antron McCray, Kevin Richardson, Yusef Salaam, Raymond Santana and Wise — would ask the judge presiding over the case to deliver a final verdict vacating the convictions as soon as possible. The judge, Acting Supreme Court Justice Charles J. Tejada, has said he will make a final determination about the convictions on Feb. 6. NEW EVIDENCE The district attorney’s papers are the result of an investigation that began in earnest in May, after DNA connected Reyes to the crime. Reyes, who is serving a term of 33 1/3 years to life in prison for four rapes and a murder, has since admitted to the attack and rape of a woman in a nearby park location two days before he attacked the jogger. According to the district attorney’s papers, Reyes’ description of the attack is consistent with the evidence. Reyes said he followed the jogger and then hit her over the head with a large branch, which was powerful enough to fracture her skull. He then dragged her along a path near the 102 Street transverse into an area among trees and raped her. Either before or after raping her, Reyes beat the woman again with a rock. She was found with her shirt tied over her head holding her hands to her face. The district attorney’s papers describe the path as 16 inches to 18 inches wide, and said it “appears to be more consistent with a single attacker dragging an inert form than with a group.” The papers also clearly establish that Reyes did not know any of the five teen-agers. He claims that by chance he met one of them, Wise, in prison, an encounter that made him feel guilty about having committed the crime for which Wise had been convicted. Over several pages, the papers assail the original confessions of the teen-agers, pointing out that each of them offered conflicting stories and that their descriptions of the attack did not match the place and time or the victims’ wounds. “Given the involvement of a number of people and the violence of the events at issue, some level of genuine confusion is probably inevitable,” the papers said, adding that “the crimes occurred at night, that the lighting was poor, and that the defendants were involved in a number of incidents.” But, the papers said, “The fact that these weaknesses in the confessions exist gives added weight to the newly discovered evidence in this matter, and increases the probability that that evidence would result in a different verdict.” Michael W. Warren, who represents Richardson, McCray and Santana, said the paper’s “attack” of the confessions is “what’s most impressive about it.” Richard D. Emery, a civil rights lawyer who won a $2.1 million verdict under the state’s unjust conviction statute in another case, said that the response papers provided “powerful” evidence that Reyes had acted alone and that the five jogger defendants were innocent of all charges relating to her attack. Emery, of New York’s Emery Cuti Brinckerhoff & Abady, said claims under the statute can only be brought in the New York State Court of Claims, and it is possible that a Court of Claims judge will be convinced, as Morgenthau was, that the five defendants were not involved in the attack. But that conclusion is likely to be “hotly contested by the Attorney General’s Office and the police faction that believes the defendants did assault the jogger.” New York Police Department officials had no comment at press time. Michael Palladino, vice president of the Detectives’ Endowment Association, took issue with the district attorney’s decision, telling The Associated Press: “This new evidence, all it does is implicate an additional perpetrator. None of the evidence exonerates or eliminates the additional five.”

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