A New York man who pleaded guilty in a notorious 1980s sex abuse case, only to argue that he had been coerced into confessing, is alleging prosecutors defamed him to make him look like a “bad guy.”
Jesse Friedman sued Nassau County District Attorney Kathleen Rice on Thursday, as well as current and former press office staffers (See Complaint).
Friedman and his father pleaded guilty in 1988 to abusing 13 children at their Long Island home. Friedman was released from prison in 2001, but his father died in prison.
Their case was depicted in an Oscar-nominated documentary, “Capturing the Friedmans.”
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit in 2010 refused to overturn Friedman’s conviction but encouraged Rice to review the case (NYLJ, Aug. 17, 2010). She concluded it had been handled properly (NYLJ, June 25, 2013).
After the report was released, Nassau County Supreme Court Justice F. Dana Winslow ordered prosecutors to turn over grand jury testimony and all other related case documents to Friedman, pursuant to his Freedom of Information request. Rice’s office is appealing the order.
Friedman’s defamation lawsuit claims prosecutors created new allegations against him “seemingly out of whole cloth” during the review.
Rice, who is now running for Congress, had no comment.
Ronald Kuby is representing Friedman.