Jesse Friedman files notice of defamation suit against DA

Jesse Friedman holds a news conference at Supreme

Jesse Friedman holds a news conference at Supreme Court in Mineola. (June 24, 2013) Photo Credit: Howard Schnapp

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Jesse Friedman filed legal papers Friday charging that Nassau County District Attorney Kathleen Rice defamed him by alleging that he possessed pornography while serving a state prison sentence for sexually molesting children in the 1980s.

A report released by Rice's office in June concluded after a three-year review of the former Great Neck man's case that he had been justifiably convicted, citing a psychiatric report that called him a "narcissist and psychopath," and supposed pornography he had while in prison, some of which he had written himself.

"A standard Google search of any of the text attributed to Jesse Friedman reveals instantly that it is material available on the Internet, written by and credited to someone else, whose email address appears at the bottom with an invitation to contact her," Friedman's attorney, Ron Kuby, said in a statement.

"As the DA is well aware, while Jesse Friedman was incarcerated at Coxsackie Correctional Facility . . . he had no access to the Internet for downloading such stories, nor did he have an email address," Kuby said.

Rice's report said Friedman wrote stories describing "violent and disturbing sexual acts" and had a photo he had torn from a Harper's magazine of two naked prepubescent girls apparently playing a game at a table.

Kuby filed a notice of claim Friday with Nassau County, meaning he will file a lawsuit within 90 days. He also served legal papers on Rice's office.

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County Attorney John Ciampoli said he had not yet reviewed the papers but would be working with Rice to "craft a defense to the action."

Meanwhile, Kuby's office and Rice's office have submitted papers to the Appellate Division, which is considering a Nassau judge's ruling last month requiring Rice to open virtually all the prosecution's files to Friedman's attorneys.

Justice F. Dana Winslow said in State Supreme Court in Mineola that he was granting Friedman's request for the records under the Freedom of Information Law, in part because of the public's need to have confidence in public officials.

Winslow refused to issue a stay of his ruling, but a stay went into effect automatically when Rice filed a notice of appeal. Kuby urged the appeals court to vacate the stay, or at least expedite the appeal.

Rice said in papers filed Friday that vacating the stay would make her appeal pointless because her office would have to turn over its files.

Friedman argued prosecutors went after him and his father, Arnold, amid public hysteria about child abuse in the 1980s. He said investigators coerced kids into false claims of sex abuse.

The Friedmans pleaded guilty to sexually abusing more than a dozen young boys who took computer classes in their Great Neck home. Arnold Friedman was 64 when he killed himself in prison in 1995. Jesse Friedman served 13 years and was paroled in 2001.

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