A Friday afternoon data dump through a New York City website revealed thousands of pages of internal law enforcement documents and crime scene photos from the infamous 1989 Central Park jogger rape case, which heightened racial tensions in the city and eventually resulted in the wrongful convictions of five black and Hispanic teenagers.
The documents, released through the New York Law Department's website, are the first part of a more broad release of approximately 100,000 items related to the case, reports The New York Times.
The jogger, a 28-year-old investment banker, was beaten and raped, spurring reports of a "wolf pack" of young men roaming the park and city.
Then-real estate and reality show tycoon Donald Trump took out full-page advertisements in the city's newspapers, calling for the death penalty for the five teenagers suspected in the "Central Park Five" case.
The convictions for the five teens, Antron McCray, Kevin Richardson, Yusef Salaam, Raymond Santana and Kharey Wise — who were 14 to 16 years old when they were arrested — were tossed in 2002 after convicted rapist and murderer Matias Reyes told authorities he alone attacked the jogger. DNA tests confirmed he sexually assaulted her.
The city reached a $40 million settlement for the defendants, prompting Trump to pen an opinion piece in 2014 in the New York Daily News, calling the settlement a "disgrace" and "politics at its lowest and worst form."
Even during his presidential campaign, Trump continued to insist the five teens were guilty, even though they had been exonerated by DNA evidence.
"They admitted they were guilty," the then-Republican presidential candidate told CNN in a statement in October 2016. "The police doing the original investigation say they were guilty. The fact that that case was settled with so much evidence against them is outrageous."
McCray, Richardson, Salaam and Santana spent about seven years in prison, and Wise was in prison for about 13 years.
According to The New York Post, though 200,000 pages would be released, about half that are being withheld because of "court order, party agreements, and applicable statutes," a source close to talks between the five men's lawyers and city attorneys commented.
The convicted men's lawyers say they want as many documents released as possible so more can be learned about why their clients were convicted and sentenced to prison.
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