A judge has ruled to uphold an earlier decision banning New York City officials from obtaining raw footage filmmaker Ken Burns shot while working on his 2012 documentary “The Central Park Five,” around the conviction of 5 men accused of beating and raping a jogger in 1989.
Found guilty and sentenced to jail, the men were proven innocent when another man, a serial rapist already in prison for other crimes, confessed. DNA evidence backed up his claim.
After the 5 men sued NYC for the time they spent behind bars when they were innocent, authorities said that Burns must hand over whatever footage he had shot because it was slanting.
“U.S. Magistrate Judge Ronald L. Ellis said the city had failed to show him a concern so compelling to trump the ‘precious rights of freedom of speech and the press’ when it last fall requested outtakes and other materials from the film ‘The Central Park Five’,” the AP reports.
The city had argued that Burns’ take on the mediated trial had not been objective, that he was not exercising his freedom of speech when he shot the film because he was actually siding with the 5 men wrongly accused of the brutal attack.
In response, Burns said that, just because it happened that his objective take on the case coincided with the men’s story, that did not mean he had lost sight of journalistic integrity.