Former prosecutor rips Netflix series about ‘Central Park Five’

NEW YORK — Former “Central Park Five” prosecutor Linda Fairstein is condemning how she’s portrayed in the Netflix series “When They See Us,” writing that the program is “full of distortions and falsehoods.”

Directed by Ava DuVernay, the film tells of the wrongful conviction of five black and Latino teenagers for the 1989 assault on a female jogger in Central Park. Fairstein, who headed Manhattan’s sex crimes unit at the time, has long been criticized for her role in the suspects’ interrogation. Fallout from the Netflix show has led to her being dropped by her book publisher, Dutton.

In an op-ed Tuesday in The Wall Street Journal, Fairstein said the film’s falsehoods included saying the suspects were held without food and attributing racist remarks to her that she never said.

“Ms. DuVernay’s film attempts to portray me as an overzealous prosecutor and a bigot, the police as incompetent or worse, and the five suspects as innocent of all charges against them. None of this is true,” she wrote.

Netflix declined comment Tuesday, but DuVernay responded to a tweet from film executive Franklin Leonard, who wrote that “It appears we’ve come to the part of the cycle where folks wrongly accuse a brilliant bit of filmmaking by @ava of being ‘so full of distortions and falsehoods as to be an outright fabrication.’”

DuVernay wrote: “Expected and typical. Onward.”

Steve Lawrence reveals he has Alzheimer’s

LOS ANGELES — Singer Steve Lawrence revealed Tuesday that he has been diagnosed with the early stages of Alzheimer’s Disease.

In a letter sent by his spokesman Howard Bragman, Lawrence confirmed the diagnosis, saying that he felt he needed to speak out in light of recent rumors and media inquiries.

“I’m living my life, going out in public and trying to spend as much time as possible with my family and friends while I am still able to engage and enjoy,” he wrote.

Lawrence said he doesn’t want pity or sympathy in response to his diagnosis.

“I have lived and am living a wonderful, joyous life filled with love, support and amazing moments,” he said.

The 83-year-old crooner is known for solo hits including the ballad “Go Away Little Girl” and as one half of the 1960s pop duo Steve and Eydie alongside his wife, Eydie Gorme, who died in 2013.

Lawrence and Gorme helped keep alive the legacy of the American Broadway songbook at a time when rock became dominant. They were known for their frequent appearances on TV variety and talk shows, in night clubs, and on the stages of Las Vegas.

The Associated Press

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