Netflix ‘When They See Us’ Defendants Received Additional State Compensation For Imprisonment


The Central Park Five, the subject of a new Netflix film directed by Ava DuVernay, When They See Us, also received $3.9 million in a New York state settlement two years after collecting a $41 million wrongful conviction payout from New York City.

The New York Daily News reported that the state Court of Claims payout covered the economic and emotional devastation to the five men, who were imprisoned for the 1989 rape and assault on a Central Park jogger. The case was later overturned and is chronicled in When They See Us, which bowed May 31 on Netflix.

“I understand people say it’s a lot of money. The reality is there’s no amount of money that would adequately compensate them,” said Jonathan Moore, one of the attorneys in both settlements, said to the Daily News. “They’ve suffered every day since 1989 and they’re still suffering.”

The state settlement gives plaintiffs Raymond Santana $500,000, Antron McCray $600,000, and Yusef Salaam and Kevin Richardson $650,000 each. Korey Wise received $1.5 million, as he served the most prison time.

A state court system spokesperson said the case was settled on the record during a Sept. 13, 2016 hearing before Judge Alan Marin.

A spokeswoman for Attorney General Letitia James confirmed the case was settled to the Daily News but declined comment.

The five were freed after Matias Reyes confessed to the attack, with DNA evidence confirming his claim. The prosecutor from the case, Linda Fairstein, has since resigned from several charity boards and lost her book deal with Dutton. Fairstein is the author of 24 crime novels, with 16 New York Times best-sellers.

Fairstein was portrayed in the fictionalized television series as focused on a guilty verdict and ignoring evidence that the defendants were innocent.


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