'Central Park Five' Prosecutor Receives Death Threats (Report)

Central Park Five - H 2012
Courtesy of Sundance Selects

Elizabeth Lederer, an attorney and adjunct law professor, becomes a target after Ken Burns' new documentary looks into the 1989 case that resulted in the wrongful convictions of five innocent teenagers.

An investigation has opened into death threats against an attorney who prosecuted five innocent black and Hispanic teenagers on allegations of raping a jogger in Central Park in the late 1980s.

Citing sources in law enforcement, the New York Post reports that the NYPD and the Manhattan District Attorney's Office have partnered to probe the 12-plus phone and email threats directed at Assistant District Attorney Elizabeth Lederer, who is featured in footage of the 1989 case in Ken Burns' documentary The Central Park Five, which debuted on PBS earlier this month.

Officials are connecting the threats to the case because of their content and the timing of Burns' film, according to the Post

STORY: Ken Burns Wins Fight Against New York City Over 'Central Park Five' Research

The 60-year-old Lederer is also an adjunct law professor at Columbia University, where she has been the target of a student petition to get her dropped from the school.

In 2002, the Central Park Five (Kevin Richardson, Yusef SalaamAntron McCray, Korey Wise and Raymond Santana) were exonerated after a serial rapist confessed to the crime in prison. A DNA test supported the confession.

Three of the freed men filed a $50 million lawsuit against New York City, claiming their admissions were coerced and accuse law enforcement of misconduct. The city continues to defend the lawsuit and had sought notes and outtakes from Burns' documentary to support its arguments that authorities were acting in good faith and relying on the best information available at the time.

But in February, Burns and other filmmakers of the Central Park Five successfully quashed a subpoena that demanded the film's research.