One of the prosecutors in the infamous Central Park Five case has handed in her resignation from the prestigious Columbia Law School in the wake of anger generated by the Netflix series When They See Us.
According to The New York Post, Elizabeth Lederer, who is a part-time lecturer at Columbia, will not be seeking reappointment next year.
Lederer is played by actress Vera Farmiga in director Ava DuVernay's mini-series, which has been a critical hit.
She was the assistant district attorney at the time of the case, and prosecuted five teenagers in 1989 for the assault and rape of a woman who was jogging in Central Park.
They were imprisoned, serving between six and 13 years each in prison, but had their convictions quashed in 2002 after the real culprit, serial rapist Matias Reyes, confessed to the crime.
“I’ve enjoyed my years teaching at CLS, and the opportunity it has given me to interact with the many fine students who elected to take my classes,” Lederer said in a letter to her faculty.
“However, given the nature of the recent publicity generated by the Netflix portrayal of the Central Park case, it is best for me not to renew my teaching application.”
The law school's dean Gillian Lester added that the series had 'reignited a painful — and vital — national conversation about race, identity, and criminal justice'.
“I am deeply committed to fostering a learning environment that furthers this important and ongoing dialogue, one that draws upon the lived experiences of all members of our community and actively confronts the most difficult issues of our time,” she added.
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Lederer's resignation comes after crime novelist Linda Fairstein, a former Manhattan sex crimes prosecutor who is also seen in the series, played by Felicity Huffman, was dropped by her publisher.
Fairstein has accused the show of being 'so full of distortions and falsehoods as to be an outright fabrication'.
In an op-ed for the Wall Street Journal, she said: “Ms. DuVernay’s film attempts to portray me as an overzealous prosecutor and a bigot, the police as incompetent or worse, and the five suspects as innocent of all charges against them.
“None of this is true.
“It shouldn’t have been hard for Ms. DuVernay to discover the truth. Instead, she has written an utterly false narrative involving an evil mastermind (me) and the falsely accused (the five).”
The series has become the most-watched show on Netflix, according to the streaming service.