U.S. Magistrate Judge Ronald L. Ellis has blocked New York City from getting footage shot by documentarian Ken Burns while doing research for his movie about the five men exonerated in a case of an investment banker who was attacked and raped while jogging in Central Park in 1989.
The judge ruled that the city did not show a reason that trumped the rights of freedom of speech and the press when it requested outtakes and other footage from the film “The Central Park Five.”
The city’s request is connected to a $250 million lawsuit the men filed against the city nine years ago after a man already in jail for other crimes confessed to the jogger attack and DNA evidence support his confession. The city maintains that the film is a one-sided depiction of the events.
The lawyer for the city says in a statement, “While journalistic privilege under the law is very important, we
firmly believe it did not apply here. This film is a one-sided advocacy
piece that depicts the plaintiffs’ version of events as undisputed fact.
It is our view that we should be able to view the complete interviews,
not just those portions that the filmmakers chose to include
But the judge maintains that Florentine Films and filmmakers Burns, David McMahon and Sarah Burns had established journalistic independence and are therefore entitled to reporter’s privilege.