Jewish World Review Dec. 12, 2002 / 7 Teves, 5763

Dan Abrams

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Manhattan prosecutors making a mistake in the Central Park jogger case | The five men were teens when they confessed back in 1989. But now a convicted murderer has come forward, claiming he acted alone. His DNA even found at the scene. The Manhattan DA recommended that their convictions be vacated and a judge indicated he'll do just that.

That would be a travesty, if all the charges are erased, and at the least, these guys have some nerve, already threatening to sue the city.

Here's why: In addition to rape, the five were convicted of various crimes, including riot, robbery, and assault. There's not one piece of new evidence that suggests the men were not involved in the other assaults, which left a number of people seriously injured, one man unconscious. In fact, even this year two of them admitted they were involved in the other crimes.

Look, the rape convictions are a tough call. The police confessions were inconsistent. On the other hand, one of the defendants also confessed to a friend. The injuries appeared to be inconsistent with one person acting alone, and it sure would be a coincidence if a woman was raped by a sole attacker, in the same hour that a group of teens were beating others in that same basic area of the park.

Nevertheless, there are serious enough questions about their rape confessions, vacating that conviction makes sense. But the DA seems to believe that the jurors could not have actually looked at the charges separately, as they were instructed to do. And as we trust jurors to do every day. And the five men, while legitimately angry if their rape confessions were false, weren't exactly angels, either.

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JWR contributor Dan Abrams anchors “The Abrams Report,” Monday through Friday from 6-7 p.m. ET on MSNBC TV. He also covers legal stories for “NBC Nightly News with Tom Brokaw,” “Today” and “Dateline NBC.” To visit his website, click here. Comment by clicking here.


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