Men Jailed in Central Park Jogger Case Want $250M from City
By Amy Zimmer
DNAinfo News Editor
MANHATTAN — The five men sent to jail in the 1989 rape and beating of a jogger in Central Park, a crime for which their convictions were later overturned, are calling on the city to settle the $250 million lawsuit they filed along with their relatives.
Two of the 15 people involved in the suit joined their lawyers on Tuesday — the 22nd anniversary of the infamous attack — in calling for a swift settlement.
Raymond Santana, who spent a good chunk of his teens and 20s in prison, told the Associated Press he has not been able to live a normal life since being released with the other four in 2003 when DNA evidence supported the confession of another man, Matias Reyes, who was already serving time for another crime.
The city plans to put up a fight, claiming that just because the five men's settlements were vacated, they were not necessarily innocent.
"The 'Central Park Jogger' was not the only victim that night; others were also brutally attacked, beaten and robbed," Celeste Koeleveld of the Law Department, said in a statement.
"The charges against the plaintiffs and other youths were based on abundant probable cause," she said, "including confessions that withstood intense scrutiny, in full and fair pretrial hearings and at two lengthy public trials."
She said that Reyes' connection to the attack didn't change any of that and that it was known at the time of the trial there was DNA from an unidentified male.
"The city is proceeding with a vigorous defense of the detectives and prosecutors, and the hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars that each of the five plaintiffs and their family members are seeking," Koeleveld said.
Plaintiffs have already taken 20 depositions and the city has turned over more than 60,000 pages of documents, plus videotapes and other evidence, she added.