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Jesse Friedman lawyer seeks sex abuse case documents

Jesse Friedman and his wife, Lisabeth, hold a

Jesse Friedman and his wife, Lisabeth, hold a news conference at the courthouse in Mineola after Nassau District Attorney Kathleen Rice released the results of a three-year review of his 1988 sex abuse case. (June 24, 2013) Credit: Howard Schnapp

A lawyer for convicted Great Neck child molester Jesse Friedman submitted legal papers Wednesday arguing that Nassau District Attorney Kathleen Rice should be forced to hand over what she says are confidential legal documents from the case.

The petition comes more than a month after Rice released an extensive report finding that Friedman was justifiably convicted in the 1988 case.

Ron Kuby, a lawyer for Friedman, says that it is impossible to show Friedman's innocence or show the flaws in Rice's conclusions without the statements, police reports and grand jury minutes from the original case.

"The DA conducted the investigation in secret. The report selects negative evidence and innuendo about Friedman, while reinterpreting and dismissing all records and witness accounts that support his claim of innocence. Rice continues to withhold exculpatory evidence from the public, Mr. Friedman's lawyers, and even from her own advisory board," the 35-page petition says.

John Byrne, a Rice spokesman, said she will not turn over the documents Friedman is seeking.

"There's absolutely nothing new in this filing. A mountain of evidence, a list of victims, a guilty plea and an independent panel support the integrity of this conviction and review process. . . . His complaints are self-serving, repackaged allegations that have been rejected by the justice system for more than two decades. The victims deserve to be able to move on," he said.

State Supreme Court Justice Dana Winslow is expected to hear oral arguments in the case Aug. 22, and make a decision later, lawyers said.

Friedman and his father, Arnold, both 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.

Despite his guilty plea, the younger Friedman has recanted and claimed he is innocent. He is a registered Level 3 sex offender.

Rice had agreed to review Friedman's conviction three years ago after the Second U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals issued a decision that denied Friedman's bid to withdraw his 1988 guilty plea, but criticized the handling of the case.

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