- Share this article on Facebook
- Share this article on Twitter
- Share this article on Email
- Show additional share options
- Share this article on Print
- Share this article on Comment
- Share this article on Whatsapp
- Share this article on Linkedin
- Share this article on Reddit
- Share this article on Pinit
- Share this article on Tumblr
Hollywood has for years been accused of taking history and rewriting it to win big at the box office. The latest accusation comes from a former New York federal prosecutor and DEA agent who are pissed the Universal Pictures film “American Gangster” credits New Jersey law enforcement for busting and later cutting a deal with 1970s drug lord Frank Lucas.
In a letter to Universal’s general counsel Maren Christensen posted on TMZ.com, Dominic Amorosa complains that the film, which stars Denzel Washington as Lucas and Russell Crowe as New Jersey cop Richie Roberts, “is riddled with false information” and has damaged the reputations of “hundreds of honest, decent and courageous agents … who risked their lives daily on the streets of New York in this period of time bringing to justice people like Frank Lucas and Nicky Barnes.”
Among the alleged false representations: that New York officers and DEA agents assaulted Lucas’ wife, shot his dog and stole millions from a cache of cash at his home during a bust; that dead Vietnam soldiers were used to smuggle heroin into the U.S.; that Lucas was first prosecuted by New Jersey law enforcement; and that convictions of three quarters of New York’s corrupt DEA office was a result of Lucas and Roberts working together.
Amorosa apparently should know. According to his biography, from 1972 to 1974 he prosecuted criminal cases in New Jersey for the federal government, and then from 1974 to 1981, he was a federal prosecutor in New York, assigned to the fraud unit and later became chief of the narcotics unit and later the organized crime unit.
Amorosa also represents former DEA agent Gregory Korniloff, who was part of the January 1975 bust of Lucas depicted in the movie. According to Amorosa, instead of millions only $585,000 was seized that day and Lucas himself told him at the time he had no idea how much cash he had in this home and that $585,000 sounded about right. Now, Amorosa says, the public falsely believes Korniloff was among those agents who allegedly committed egregious acts at the gangster’s house.
While you may have the right to dramatize actual events, this right does not extend to destroying the reputations of honest and courageous public servants by deliberately misrepresenting the facts,” he writes. “You have profited enormously based on these false and defamatory statements at the expense of the individuals who actually were responsible for apprehending Lucas and his gang at great risk to their lives.”
While Amorosa isn’t asking Universal to pull the movie, he is asking the studio to remove a post-script at the end of the film that reads Lucas and Robers’ “collaboration led to the convictions of ¾ of the New York City’s Drug Enforcement Agency
Universal and Christensen, however, are not commenting on the letter or whether they’ll remove the statement from the film.
Sign up for THR news straight to your inbox every day