Ava DuVernay Cites First Amendment as She Seeks to Dismiss Lawsuit Over Her Show 'When They See Us'

The 'When They See Us' director and Netflix bosses are asking judge to throw out the lawsuit filed by Central Park Five prosecutor Linda Fairstein following the premiere of their TV show.

AceShowbiz - Ava DuVernay and Netflix bosses are seeking the dismissal of Central Park Five prosecutor Linda Fairstein's lawsuit alleging their TV series "When They See Us" defamed her.

Fairstein sued over the Emmy-winning series in March, alleging the four-part show, about five black and Latino teenagers from Harlem who were unfairly convicted of raping a white woman, Trisha Meili, while she was jogging in New York City's Central Park, was defamatory.

According to Deadline.com, DuVernay and Netflix executives are now seeking the dismissal of the ex-prosecutor's suit, citing the protection of the U.S. First Amendment.

"Plaintiff's claims fail under the First Amendment as a matter of law," a motion filed in Florida on Monday, May 18, 2020 by the Oscar-nominated director, Netflix chiefs, and co-defendant WTSU producer and writer Attica Locke, reads, "Material falsity is essential to any defamation claim and is an element Plaintiff must establish."

The 36 page filing describes the show as an "artistic dramatization of controversial and contested historical events" and states that Fairstein's argument that writers "puts words in her mouth" is a "non sequitur" and so the defamation suit should be dismissed.

Fairstein claims the show unfairly depicted her as a "racist, unethical villain who is determined to jail innocent children of color at any cost" and that her portrayal by Felicity Huffman in the miniseries features "complete fabrications and (is) readily contradicted by evidence in the public record."

DuVernay and her co-defendants also want the lawsuit dismissed as they have no connection to Florida, where Fairstein recently moved and filed her complaint.

At the time of the conviction of Raymond Santana, Antron McCray, Kevin Richardson, Yusef Salaam, and Korey Wise for the crime in 1990, the prosecutor turned crime novelist took credit for their convictions. However, those convictions were vacated in 2002 after it became clear they were innocent, following a confession by serial rapist and murderer Matias Reyes.

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