In “When They See Us,” a Netflix series that dramatizes the Central Park jogger case, five black and Hispanic teenage boys are interrogated by investigators in scenes that show them bewildered, scared and alone, The New York Times reports.
In the show, as in reality, the boys make statements under pressure, implicating themselves and one another in the brutal rape of a woman who had been jogging in Central Park in 1989. Their convictions were vacated in 2002. In the Netflix series, created and directed by Ava DuVernay, one character refers to the investigators’ harsh questioning methods as “the Reid technique,” a set of guidelines used by law enforcement agencies across the country in interrogation. A lawsuit filed this week argues that this characterization was wrong. The plaintiff, John E. Reid and Associates, which trains investigators to use the Reid technique, is suing DuVernay and Netflix for defamation. The Reid technique is a method of questioning people who are suspected of committing a crime. Critics of the technique say that it can lead to false confessions. But the company has argued that false confessions arise mainly when the guidelines are not followed correctly — for example, when investigators physically abuse people or fail to take special precautions when dealing with minors.
The emails were among more than 56,000 documents turned over in discovery that included “Infowars” emails that referenced the Sandy Hook shooting.
According to the court filing, the lawyers contacted the FBI after consultants found one image of child pornography while loading files into a document review database. The FBI reviewed the documents and found numerous additional images that had apparently been sent to “Infowars” email addresses, according to the filing.
“It is worth noting that if the Jones defendants had engaged in even minimal due diligence and actually reviewed the materials before production, they would have found the images themselves,” the filing said.
After the FBI review, lawyers for the plaintiffs contacted Jones’ defense lawyer, Norm Pattis. Jones responded angrily in a broadcast of his show on Friday.
The court filing says Jones’ rant amounted to threats and asks the judge to review the video. The court filing includes some quotes from Jones, including this offer of a reward:
“You’re trying to set me up with child porn, I’ll get your ass. One million dollars, you little gang members. One million dollars to put your head on a pike. One million dollars, bitch. I’m going to get your ass, you understand me now?”
Jones also pounded a picture of plaintiffs’ lawyer Chris Mattei, according to the filing. “Chris Mattei. What a good American. What a good boy,” Jones said. “You think you’ll put on me, what—[under his breath]. I’m gonna kill … [growls]. Anyway, I’m done! Total war! You want it, you got it! I’m not into kids like your Democratic Party, you [expletive]!”
Pattis said on the radio show that Jones and his staff never opened the emails, some of which were “very hostile,” according to a review by Courthouse News Service.
“Clearly they were intended as malware,” Pattis said. He also said the FBI had cleared Jones of any wrongdoing, according to the New York Times.
Jones apologized for bad language a day after the show, according to BuzzFeed News. “I’m not saying that the lawyers for Sandy Hook families set this up or did this,” Jones said. “Whoever sent this, for whatever reason, this shows the escalation and the insanity of all of this.”
Pattis told the Connecticut Post that Jones was upset but there was no threat.