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Federal appeals court affirms judge's dismissal in Theresa Fusco case

A federal appeals court on Thursday affirmed the dismissal of a lawsuit against Nassau County by John Kogut, one of three men tangled up in a high-profile wrongful conviction case involving the 1984 rape and murder of 16-year-old Theresa Fusco.

Kogut and the other two men, John Restivo and Dennis Halstead, were eventually exonerated of the crime based on DNA. All three sued, saying they had been convicted based on false confessions, and planted and withheld evidence.

In 2012, a Central Islip jury refused to award damages and found no wrongdoing by Nassau police. U.S. District Judge Joanna Seybert dismissed Kogut's claims, but granted a new trial to Restivo and Halstead based on faulty jury instructions.

The Second U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the judge's dismissal was correct. Restivo and Halstead won a $36 million award at their new trial last year, and the county has appealed that verdict.

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