Writers' group revokes prize for author over 1989 prosecution of Central Park Five | Media Hard

Writers' group revokes prize for author over 1989 prosecution of Central Park Five

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Writers' group revokes prize for author over 1989 prosecution of Central Park Five

A literary organization comprised of U.S. mystery and suspense writers has reconsidered its decision to award its annual prize to an author who served as a New York prosecutor during the wrongful convictions of the so-called Central Park Five.

The Mystery Writers of America announced Thursday that it would not award its annual “grand master” title to Linda Fairstein, author of the bestselling book “Deadfall” over concerns raised by members about her involvement in the case.

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Fairstein served as a city prosecutor during the successful prosecution of five teenagers, four black and one Hispanic, who were wrongfully convicted of rape in 1989 and later saw their convictions later thrown out.

The group initially confessed to the crime, but insist that their confessions were coerced after being interrogated by police for two days. They were exonerated in 2002, when an already-incarcerated rapist and murderer confessed to the crime.

In a statement, the mystery writers organization said that it was “unaware” of Fairstein’s background as a prosecutor and said that the organization would make greater efforts to vet award recipients in the future.

Fairstein responded on Facebook, writing that she was “disappointed” to learn of the group’s decision.

“I have been a member of MWA throughout my entire writing career. I am extremely disappointed, of course, to have this great award-designation revoked so hastily,” she said.

Writer and Edgar Award winner Attica Locke originally brought the issue to MWA’s attention, calling on the organization in a tweet to choose a different award winner.

“As a member and 2018 Edgar winner, I am begging you to reconsider having Linda Fairstein serve as a Grand Master in next year’s awards ceremony. She is almost singlehandedly responsible for the wrongful incarceration of the Central Park Five,” wrote Locke, who is working on a Netflix retelling of the case.

Fairstein later fired back in her own tweet, challenging Locke to a conversation and rejecting the characterization of her role in the case.

“I was certainly NOT the person who ‘single-handedly spearheaded’ the investigation,” Fairstein wrote.

“Why don’t you and I have a civilized conversation, so I can refresh you with the facts?” she added. “Thank you.”

President TrumpDonald John TrumpMigrants stage hunger strike at Mexican border Top White House China hawk at G-20 summit after reports he would not attend CNN’s Gloria Borger: Source close to Cohen says he has ‘the goods’ MORE, who called for the execution of the Central Park Five at the time, said in 2016 that he still believes the group is guilty, despite the lack of DNA evidence connecting them to the crime.

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jbowden@thehill.com (John Bowden)

More at https://thehill.com/blogs/in-the-know/in-the-know/419173-writers-group-revokes-prize-for-author-over-1989-prosecution-of

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