Central Park 5 prosecutor Linda Fairstein dropped by book publisher amid backlash

Amid mounting outrage, Linda Fairstein resigned from several charity boards and the Vassar College board of trustees earlier this week.

Linda Fairstein, who led the prosecution of the Central Park Five case 30 years ago, is feeling the wrath of the court of public opinion following the release of the Netflix series "When They See Us."

The New York Times bestselling author of over a dozen mystery novels was dropped by her publisher, Dutton Books, on Friday, The Associated Press reported. Her most recent book, "Blood Oath," was released in March. A request for comment from Fairstein was not immediately returned.

The decision was announced just days after Fairstein resigned from several charity boards and the Vassar College board of trustees amid growing outrage over her role in the wrongful convictions of five teens accused of attacking and brutally raping a woman in Central Park in April 1989.

Matias Reyes, a convicted murderer and serial rapist, claimed sole responsibility for the attack in 2002, and his DNA matched genetic material found at the scene. Raymond Santana, Kevin Richardson, Antron McCray, Yusef Salaam and Korey Wise served between 5 and 12 years but all of them had been released before their convictions were vacated later that year.

Although Fairstein did not prosecute the case in court – that would be Elizabeth Lederer, who still works for the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office – she was at the helm of the sex crimes unit responsible for the investigation. She has maintained her belief that Wise, Salaam, Richardson, McCray and Santana were properly charged in the case, even after they were exonerated.

In "When They See Us," a four-part drama series directed by Ava DuVernay, Fairstein (played by Felicity Huffman) is portrayed as a purveyor of injustice who refers to the teens as "animals" and helps Lederer weave a successful argument against them despite conflicting confessions and a lack of physical evidence tying them to the crime.

Following the series’ debut on May 31, more than a dozen petitions were created on Change.org, with demands ranging from a boycott of her books to criminal prosecution.

Lauren Cook