CNN BREAKING NEWS
Convictions Overturned in Central Park Jogger Case
Aired December 19, 2002 - 10:59 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
DARYN KAGAN, CNN ANCHOR: The judge has overturned the convictions of five young men in the infamous Central Park jogger attack. DNA evidence now implicates a convicted rapist who has confessed to the crime. Lawyers say the five black and Hispanic youths were coerced by threats and trickery into making incriminating statements.
We want to get more on this breaking news story, and our Deborah Feyerick is in New York City covering the story.
DEBORAH FEYERICK, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Daryn, it took less than two minutes. The judge walked into the courtroom. He basically said he was tossing out the convictions and that he wished everybody a merry Christmas and then he walked out. It was that fast. Family members in back of the courtroom actually cheering as the judge made his decision. They feel that this clears the five young teenagers who were convicted of raping the Central Park jogger more than 14 years ago.
Now while this was happening in another court, this about a mile from here, detectives were trying to fight to stop the judge from making any ruling at all. The detectives are very angry that they were not included in the investigation process conducted by the district attorney's office. They said that they wanted an opportunity to be able to interview inmates who knew a key suspect, that is, Matias Reyes. He is the one who changed everything earlier this year by confessing that it was he who raped the Central Park jogger. He says he acted alone. And detectives are not convinced that that is the case. They still believe that these five young men had something to do with it.
Remember, very controversial confessions, but all of those boys placed themselves in the park the night that this attack took place. However, the judge has found that had the information about Matias Reyes been available at the time -- remember, this is well before DNA testing -- that the judge did not feel the boys would have been convicted.
And remember now, these boys now, really, they're young men, all of them in their late 20s, early 30s. So that's where we stand right now. Still not over, because the detectives do want to fight this but the district attorney standing by his decision, recommending to the judge that the convictions be tossed out -- Daryn.
KAGAN: And, Deb, quickly, in terms of this not being over, these five young men served their time for a crime that now we're being told they did not commit. Do they plan further legal action to try to get some payback?
FEYERICK: Absolutely. All of them served between seven to 13 years in prison. Now, the district attorney and the judge basically saying that that's time that they shouldn't have done. They are planning on filing a very stiff lawsuit against this city. We're looking at millions and millions of dollars. So that will be the next phase of all of this.
KAGAN: Deborah Feyerick from New York City, thank you so much.
TO ORDER A VIDEO OF THIS TRANSCRIPT, PLEASE CALL 800-CNN-NEWS OR USE OUR SECURE ONLINE ORDER FORM LOCATED AT www.fdch.com