Andrew Jarecki, 'Capturing the Friedmans' director, vows to fight on
The filmmaker whose "Capturing the Friedmans" film raised questions about the Jesse Friedman sex abuse prosecution vowed Monday to continue pressing for a full review in court.
Andrew Jarecki, the director of the documentary released in 2003, criticized what he said was the lack of transparency and fairness in the re-examination of the case by a review team and an advisory panel commissioned by Nassau County District Attorney Kathleen Rice.
While the review found Friedman "was not wrongfully convicted," Jarecki said it did not give much weight to evidence he had wanted to see emphasized.
"We always felt that asking a district attorney to review a case prosecuted in the same district attorney's office is not a rational way of evaluating a complex case," said Jarecki, 50, adding that his investigation "reveals so much misconduct by prosecutors and police" that he didn't expect an objective evaluation.
Jarecki's film won critical acclaim as it presented viewers with the details of the arrest and prosecutions, the shocking allegations of sexual abuse of preteens attending computer classes at Friedman's Great Neck home through the prism of alternating viewpoints, sometimes questioning evidence behind those accusations.
Law enforcement officials close to the investigation and prosecution, and even some of the original witnesses, countered through the years that the film was a very selective look at the case, as they maintained that the sexual abuse did take place. The case's re-examination came after an appeals court criticized its handling in 2010.
Jarecki called Rice's report "a toothless investigation" that did not employ subpoena power to question relevant witnesses, and did not delve into 1,700 pages of transcripts of interviews he had with "28 of the eyewitnesses to the Friedman computer classes" that he found.
"The positive side" of the findings from his perspective, Jarecki said Monday, "is that it clears the way now for Jesse to get back into court" to present the new evidence to a judge, "and when we get to court, we win."