The lead prosecutor in the trial of the now-exonerated Central Park Five said Wednesday she will leave her post as a part-time lecturer at Columbia Law School due to a student backlash triggered by a Netflix series on the case.
Elizabeth Lederer, who still serves as a prosecutor for the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office, said in a letter to faculty and students she will not seek reappointment after the negative reaction over her portrayal in the series, the New York Post and NBC News reported.
“I’ve enjoyed my years teaching at CLS, and the opportunity it has given me to interact with the many fine students who elected to take my classes,” Lederer said in the letter.
Lederer has come under renewed scrutiny for her role in the wrongful conviction and imprisonment of five black teenagers in 1990, after a white woman was attacked in Central Park. The latest backlash began in late May after director Ava DuVernay released a Netflix miniseries about the case, “When They See Us.”
“[G]iven the nature of the recent publicity generated by the Netflix portrayal of the Central Park case, it is best for me not to renew my teaching application.”
The departure comes just days after crime novelist Linda Fairstein, a former Manhattan sex crimes prosecutor also negatively portrayed in the series, was dropped by her publisher.
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