NYC WANTS KEN BURNS’S OUTTAKES; BURNS VOWS TO FIGHT
Famed documentary filmmaker Ken Burns has vowed to fight a subpoena issued on Tuesday by New York City ordering his Florentine Films company to turn over outtakes from his The Central Park Five, about the five men who were convicted of raping a jogger in Central Park in 1989 but who were exonerated after serving their sentences when the actual rapist confessed and produced DNA evidence that confirmed his admission. The documentary accuses New York police and other officials of contriving a case against the five to appease public opinion, concealing evidence, and forcing the young men’s confessions by threats of longer prison sentences. The five have sued the city, which has refused to settle their cases. On Wednesday, Burns, along with Sarah Burns (his daughter) and David McMahon (her husband), who jointly researched and produced the film, said that they had expected the subpoena. “This strikes us as just another effort to delay and deny closure and justice to these five men, each of whom was cleared of guilt even though they served out their full and unjustified terms.” They are fighting the subpoena under laws protecting “professional journalists.” Said Burns, “We will fight and argue this to the extent we can. We don t have a lot of resources, but we feel the law of precedent is on our side.” The film has been screened at the Cannes and Toronto film festivals and is due to be aired next year on PBS. Sundance Select also plans to release it theatrically.