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Ken Burns and the filmmakers behind The Central Park Five, a documentary about the wrongful conviction of five minority teens for a 1989 Central Park rape, will defy a subpoena from the city of New York, which is engaged in a multimillion federal suit with the exonerated former suspects.
After serving prison sentences, the five men were cleared of wrongdoing with the help of DNA evidence in 2002 and have been in litigation with the City for the last nine years. On Sept. 12, the filmmakers received a subpoena from the City requesting access to the film’s interviews and unreleased footage, but in a statement today, Burns and co-directors Sarah Burns and David McMahon’s attorney said they would not comply, claiming that the City’s request was “neither appropriate nor enforceable under the governing law for subpoenas served on professional journalists exercising their right of independent free speech.”
Click below for the entire statement:
UPDATE: In a written response to Florentine Films’ statement, New York City’s attorneys have narrowed the scope of their subpoena and called into question the objectivity of the filmmakers, noting that Ken Burns has lobbied the Mayor personally for the City to settle the case. Celeste Koeleveld, New York City’s executive assistant corporation counsel for Public Safety, responded in a statement: